Book Review: The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Book: The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Published January 2019 by Scholastic Press|336 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life? 

I really liked The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali!  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I really liked Rukhsana’s story, and how supportive some of her family and friends were.

Her parents weren’t the most supportive, at least initially, and I think it’s important to note that not of all her family thinks the way they do.  They do come around, though I was sad it took a really big event for them to see things differently.  I felt so much for Rukhsana, and everything she went through.  I hated what her parents did- I know they thought they were helping, and they were definitely more worried about what other people thought.  And even though I am not a fan of what brought them around, it was a wake-up call that they could have lost Rukhsana.

Her friends and her girlfriend were pretty frustrating at times.  They didn’t seem to get how hard it would be for Rukhsana to come out to her parents, and what would happen if they did.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have supportive, caring parents, and it seemed like her friends brushed off what she was telling them.  I don”t think they realized the gravity of what would happen when she came out, and we definitely see what happens when her mom finds out.

I really loved her grandma, her brother, and her cousin.  She had a couple of other people who were really supportive, and it was obvious they cared about her, and what happened to her.  She had some great people in her corner, and she’s lucky to have them in her life.  They definitely encouraged her to hear her parents out after what happened, and I get why she wasn’t willing to talk to them at first.  She did change her mind, but it also seems like they have a long way to go before things are completely better between them.

4 stars.  I really liked this book, and it was a great read.  Her parents were really frustrating at times, and though I don’t agree with how they handled things, they did start to come around.

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Audio Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray, Narrated by January LaVoy

Book: The Diviners by Libba Bray, Narrated by January LaVoy

Published September 2012 by Listening Library|Length: 18 hours, 14 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: The Diviners #1

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

SOMETHING DARK AND EVIL HAS AWAKENED…

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened…

I’ve meaning to read this book for a while, and I finally got around to it!  I liked it, and it was great on audio but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

I thought the setting was a great backdrop for the paranormal.  It worked really well, especially with the time period and with the book being set in New York.  While it would have worked in another time period/place, I can’t imagine it being somewhere else.  I don’t know that it would have worked otherwise.

There were times where I ended up getting confused.  We’d be with Evie, and then the book would suddenly switch to someone else.  It took a while to figure out how those other stories were connected to what was going on with Evie.  I think it just didn’t translate well to audio, at least for me.

It was really long, and it took me a while to get through it, so by the time I got to the end, I was fuzzy on what had happened at the beginning.  I was never clear on what Evie could do and what led her to New York, and I’m not sure if it’s because I just didn’t remember what happened or if it was never mentioned.

I’m not sure how I feel about Evie.  I didn’t mind the slang at first, but I did get tired of it by the end.  I feel like if Evie were a real person living right now, she’d have her own reality tv show.  She has this ditzy socialite vibe to her, and she seems pretty self-absorbed, even at the end of the book.  Obviously, some don’t change, which is fine, but maybe there’s hope for Evie.

I did like the narrator, though!  January LaVoy did a great job narrating, and she really brought Evie to life.

3 stars.  I liked The Diviners but I didn’t love it.  I might pick up the next book, but I’m still undecided.

Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Book: Slayer by Kiersten White

Published January 2019 by Simon Pulse|404 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Slayer #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

Slayer was a book I was both excited and nervous about.  Excited because I love Kiersten White, and I will read anything she writes.  But I was nervous because I’ve never seen Buffy, and I wasn’t sure if what to expect.  But White is an auto-buy author for me, and I knew I was going to fun and entertaining.

I actually really liked it, and I had no reason to be nervous!  I was sure I would have no idea what was going on, since this is my first introduction to Buffy.  But you don’t need to have seen Buffy in order to know what’s going on, which was really nice.  I think it does reference the show, but she does a great job at explaining what’s going on, and what got us to the events we see in this book.  I definitely want to watch the show now!  If only to see the world White was working from.

There were some things I wasn’t surprised by but I still loved seeing how everything played out.  I’m really curious to see what will happen next.

I loved Nina, and she was really easy to relate to.  I really felt for her with everything going on, and even though I understood where her mom and sister were coming from, I still found myself really hating them at times.  Nina really seemed like an underdog but there were some people who seemed really supportive of her and wanted her to do well.  I kind of wonder what would happen if some things hadn’t happened, and if things would have turned out differently.  I guess we’ll never know, but I’m still looking forward to seeing what’s next for her and everyone else.

4 stars.  I didn’t love Slayer but it was a really fun read.

Book Review: Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson

Book: Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson

Published January 2019 by Inkyard Press|352 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

A year ago, Brooke Covington lost everything when her beloved older brother, Jason, confessed to the murder of his best friend, Calvin. Brooke and her family became social pariahs, broken and unable to console one another. Brooke’s only solace remains the ice-skating rink, where she works but no longer lets herself dream about a future skating professionally.

When Brooke encounters Calvin’s younger brother, Heath, on the side of the road and offers him a ride, everything changes. She needs someone to talk to…and so does Heath. No one else understands what it’s like. Her brother, alive but gone; his brother, dead but everywhere. Soon, they’re meeting in secret, despite knowing that both families would be horrified if they found out. In the place of his anger and her guilt, something frighteningly tender begins to develop, drawing them ever closer together.

But when a new secret comes out about the murder, Brooke has to choose whose pain she’s willing to live with—her family’s or Heath’s. Because she can’t heal one without hurting the other.

I was intrigued by Even If I Fall, but it ended up being okay for me.

I really felt for Brooke, and what she had to go through.  You see glimpses of what people think of her, but I feel like the summary made it seem like it was a bigger deal than it really was.  We don’t get a lot of it, and considering how much Brooke seems to be out and about, we could have had more of it.

I felt like the secret didn’t match with all of the build-up to it.  I was really let down by it, and I honestly expected something more life-changing.  It was definitely disappointing, and I honestly expected more.  I wasn’t necessarily shocked that there was a secret, but I was shocked that it was so small and insignificant.

Before I start sounding like a broken record about that secret, the ending in general was pretty disappointing.  I don’t mind open endings at all, and I did finish the book wondering what was in store for Brooke.  But I wish we had actually finished the book with whether she got into ice-skating tour, and not her opening the envelope.

I liked that she was there for her sister, but Brooke did seem pretty self-absorbed at times.  I felt really sad for her that she thought she had to give up on the ice-skating tour to be near her family.  I am glad that she decided to go for it, and that she shouldn’t put her life on hold because of her brother.  I get why she didn’t initially tell her friend about what really happened to her brother, but it did cost her, and I hope she eventually understands that she should have been more honest.

I didn’t particularly care for the romance, mostly because it’s the brother of guy her brother murdered.  If I were him, I don’t know that I would have even talked to someone who murdered a relative, much less date him.  But there is a part of me that’s glad she had someone to talk to, even though Heath would not have been my first choice.

2 stars.  Even If I Fall was just okay.  I was disappointed in the secret and in the ending, but I did like that Brooke decided to go for the audition, and to live her life.

Book Review: Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky

Book: Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky

Published June 2018 by Tor Teen|336 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Mystery/Contemporary

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A’s and solid friends, he’s only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make him question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.

I’ve heard a lot about this book, so I decided to pick it to see what the fuss was about.  Dive Smack ended up being an okay read for me, but I get why people like it so much.

Let’s start off with what I liked about Dive Smack!  I really liked the diving terms at the start of each chapter, and how they related to what was going on in Theo’s life and with that particular chapter.  I loved that he was a diver, and I feel like diving (or swimming) isn’t something a lot of YA characters do.  That really stood out to me, and seeing how each term related to what was going on was really cool.

I also liked seeing the mystery of the night of the fire unravel.  We’re learning things as they happen, the same way Theo does.  His memories start coming back, and it was interesting to see how everything worked out.

As much as I liked seeing the mystery unravel, I thought most of the book moved too slow.  It wasn’t until we were close to the end that things started to pick up, and even though I liked the mystery, there wasn’t any excitement in the build-up.  I never really felt a sense of urgency when I was reading it.

And then there’s the fact that Theo’s grandpa didn’t share his concerns about Theo’s uncle Phil.  Especially given everything that happened with Phil.  I get he’s trying to protect Theo, but I wonder if things could have been avoided if grandpa had just been honest about what happened.  I get they were both struggling with what happened, and Theo’s school project brought that up, but I really do wonder if things would have unfolded the way they did if his grandpa had just been honest with him.

I didn’t really care for Theo.  I thought he was horrible to some of the people on his team, and he was definitely a jerk at times.  I thought it was unwarranted, and jealously is not a good look for anyone, but in particular, it’s not a good look on Theo.

I liked Chip and Iris, though.  I really liked learning about Iris, and she had a pretty interesting story.  Theo’s lucky to have Chip around, and Chip seems like a cool guy.  They’re really the only other characters worth talking about, but I don’t have much to say about them.

2 stars.  I wanted to like Dive Smack more, but the pacing was really slow and I never felt any sense of urgency.

Book Review: King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Book: King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Published January 2019 by Imprint|514 pages

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

Series: Nikolai Duology #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

I’m been pretty excited about King Of Scars for a while!  And while I didn’t love it, I still really liked it.

I loved seeing Nikolai’s story, and I was really surprised with how everything ended.  It’s definitely an adventure, and I don’t blame him for wanting to keep everything a secret.  It’s been ages since I read the Shadow and Bone series, but I did not see that coming.

We also have Nina and Zoya narrate King Of Scars, and it was nice to to see Zoya’s perspective on what was going on with Nikolai.  It was also nice to see what was going on with Nina, and while Zoya and Nikolai were dealing with what was going on with Nikolai.

I was nervous going into this book because I hadn’t re-read Shadow And Bone or Six Of Crows ahead of time.  If you haven’t read those series, you don’t need to in order to read this one.  Bardugo does a great job at explaining what’s happened before and she weaves it into the story really well.  You’ll understand what’s going on in this book, which worked out great for me because I didn’t remember anything.

Still, reading those books first is something I’d recommend, because it does set up the world we see in this book, and it does give you the background and history you need it.  It just makes understanding this world easier, but it’s not necessary.

I want to randomly switch over to Isaac for a second.  We do get a few chapters from his perspective, and while it’s a way to see what’s going on while Nikokai is dealing with things, I also didn’t particularly care for those chapters.  They didn’t really stand out to me, and all I pretty much remember is that they exist.

It seemed like it took a while for things to get going- it wasn’t until the end of the book that things really got interesting, and part of me wishes that it didn’t seem to meander for a lot of the book.  That’s what it felt like to me, anyway.

4 stars.  I really liked King Of Scars, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Audio Book Review: We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, Narrated by Kyla Garcia

Book: We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, Narrated by Kyla Garcia

Published February 2019 by HarperAudio|Length: 9 hours, 54 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: We Set The Dark On Fire #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

I liked We Set The Dark On Fire!  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next, but I definitely have some mixed feelings.

I’d say it’s The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Belles meets Girls Of Paper And Fire.  I’d say it’s more Handmaid’s Tale than any of the other two books I mentioned, but I think it reminded me of The Belles and Girls Of Paper And Fire because of girls chosen to do be something, and getting trained to it.  Plus the whole forbidden romance you see in Girls Of Paper And Fire.

I really felt for Dani, and what she was trying to protect.  She has to make a lot of hard choices, but I did find myself wishing that we had more with her parents.  I know she wanted to protect her secret, that her parents gave up everything so she could do better, but I never really felt like that was in danger of being revealed.  I felt like her joining the Resistance, and her falling in love with Carmen was more at stake than sacrificing what her parents did.

I really wanted to know more about the school she went to, and how it was decided who was Primero and who was Segundo.  I really wanted to know that.  It was easy enough with Handmaid’s Tale- Handmaidens were the ones who could still bear children, while wives sometimes could not.  But I wasn’t sure how it decided- if it was explained, I clearly missed it.

So, I did listen to the audio book, which I think didn’t help with the world building.  The narrator, Kyla Garcia was really great, and she did an awesome job narrating.  I loved her narration of Joyride by Anna Banks, but having finished this one, I don’t think it completely worked on audio.  At least for me.  There were details, like who was Primero and who was Segundo that were either left out, or completely forgettable.  There were quotes from the guide that the Medio School For Girls had, and they were completely forgettable as well.  I didn’t mind them, but for audio, it didn’t work.

And there was this story at the beginning of the book that explained how the world came to be.  I liked it, but by the end of the book, I had completely forgotten what it was about.  I think that’s what made me think of The Belles.

The idea was interesting, and I liked a Handmaid’s Tale-type story in a fantasy setting.  It’s not at all a Handmaid’s Tale re-telling but it was the only thing I could think of the entire time I was reading this book.  That is partly why I picked this book up, and I did like it.  The world and characters are interesting, and I do want to know where the story is headed.  I think this is the one time that a comparison to another book is dead-on.

I didn’t really care about Carmen, but I did like Dani.  I can’t say I’m surprised by some of the things that happened between them, but I did want to keep listening to see if any of my guesses were right.  It was fairly predictable, but I didn’t mind.  I liked the overall story enough that I didn’t mind the predictability.

3 stars.  If you love the Handmaid’s Tale, you really like this book.  It reminded me way too much of the Handmaid’s Tale for me to love this book, and it’s similarity to it made it hard to see it as a separate book.  Still, I liked the world and the story enough that I want to know what happens next.

Book Review: Our Year Of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Book: Our Year Of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Published January 2019 by Simon Pulse|384 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein would do anything for Peter Rosenthal-Porter, who’s been on the kidney transplant list as long as she’s known him. Peter, a gifted pianist, is everything to Sophie: best friend, musical collaborator, secret crush. When she learns she’s a match, donating a kidney is an easy, obvious choice. She can’t help wondering if after the transplant, he’ll love her back the way she’s always wanted.

But Peter’s life post-transplant isn’t what either of them expected. Though he once had feelings for Sophie too, he’s now drawn to Chase, the guitarist in a band that happens to be looking for a keyboardist. And while neglected parts of Sophie’s world are calling to her—dance opportunities, new friends, a sister and niece she barely knows—she longs for a now-distant Peter more than ever, growing increasingly bitter he doesn’t seem to feel the same connection.

Peter fears he’ll forever be indebted to her. Sophie isn’t sure who she is without him. Then one blurry, heartbreaking night twists their relationship into something neither of them recognizes, leading them to question their past, their future, and whether their friendship is even worth fighting for.

I was pretty excited about this one after reading You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone.  Our Year Of Maybe was okay, and I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

I didn’t care for Sophie or Peter.  Their friendship didn’t work for me at all and it seemed like she needed him a lot more than he needed her.  I felt like she couldn’t function without him, to the point that she didn’t want to go away for a weekend because she couldn’t see him.  Their friendship seemed really one-sided, and it was strange to me that it was so much on Sophie’s end, considering she was the one who didn’t need a kidney.

I do think it’s awesome that she donated a kidney, even though her parents didn’t seem to agree with her decision.  And we do see Peter struggle with taking her kidney, and feeling like he owes her everything for what she did.  But the fact that he seemed to know she had feelings for him, and didn’t really talk to her about didn’t sit right with me.  It’s fine if the feelings aren’t reciprocated, but he acted like things were fine until he decided to say something.  I don’t know why he didn’t say anything earlier…well, actually I do, and I’m pretty sure it’s the kidney she donated.  But still, I just didn’t like it.

I did want more background on why she decided to donate.  I wasn’t completely sure why she decided to it, especially with her parents not seeming happy about it.  She was 18 when she did it, so I don’t know how much influence they could have had, but I know for me, my grandparents still had a pretty big influence on me, and I would have taken their concerns into account.  But maybe that’s just me.  Still, I would have like more on that.

I thought Sophie was pretty bratty, though.  All she cared about was Peter, and as much as she seemed to love choreography and dance, she seemed to not want to do anything with it unless she could stay near Peter.  I did like seeing her eventually start hanging out with others, but by that point, I just didn’t care.  Also, she was horrible to her sister, who was a teenage mom.  I wish we saw a little more with that, but this book was not about the relationship she had with her sister.

2 stars.  I didn’t particularly like Peter or Sophie, and there were some things that I think needed more information.

Book Review: On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Book: On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Published February 2019 by Balzer + Bray|464 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families. 

I was nervous going into On The Come Up.  I loved The Hate U Give, and I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time.  On The Come Up was great, and I loved it just as much as The Hate U Give.

This is a very different book than THUG.  Bri, I think, is a character who is not always the easiest to like or root for, but Bri is a really interesting character.  She’s angry and resentful and impulsive but she wants a better life for her and her family.  She lost her dad, her family is struggling to make ends meet, and has to deal with a lot of sexism in the hip-hop industry.

Bri’s trying to figure out who she is, and I love her for that.  She has a great group of people who love her and support her, from her grandparents, to her aunt to her friends to her mom and brother.  The relationships really stood out to me, particularly the one with her mom.  Her mom was amazing, and she just wanted Bri and her brother to do better than she did.  She was supportive and encouraging and wanted them to do well in school.  Her mom had a lot to deal with, from people not wanting to give her a chance because of a prior history of using drugs to going to school to give her kids a better life than the one she had.

I loved seeing Bri’s raps throughout the book.  I’m normally not a fan of lyrics (particularly original lyrics) in books, but it was a way for Bri to express herself, and I really liked it.  I’d actually love to see this book as a movie just to see the rap battles and to see Bri perform.  I really felt for her when someone thought that she didn’t write her own lyrics, and performing her own music was really important to her.  She really stuck to that, and I hated that no one took her seriously when she didn’t want to do someone’s else’s lyrics.  Actually, now I’m curious to see if there’s an audio book, just so I can listen to the lyrics.

On The Come Up does mention the events of THUG, so while we don’t see Starr, or get any follow up on what happened after, it is mentioned.  It makes sense, since this book is set in the same neighborhood.  Now I just want to re-read THUG to stay in this world a little bit longer.

5 stars.  I LOVED this book, and it’s a great follow-up to The Hate U Give.  I loved everything about this book, and I feel like I can’t properly do this book justice.  It’ a great book, and I definitely recommend it!

Book Review: The Rules For Breaking by Ashley Elston

Book: The Rules For Breaking by Ashley Elston

Published May 2014 by Disney-Hyperion|320 pages

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

Series: The Rules For Disappearing #2

Genre: YA Contemporary/Thriller

Who do you trust when no one is what they seem? The gripping sequel to contemporary, romantic YA thriller, The Rules for Disappearing.

Anna Boyd almost lost her life to get what she wanted most in the world: freedom.

But just when it seems that her family has finally escaped Witness Protection, the illusion that Anna could resume a normal life comes crashing down.

The deadly man Anna knows as Thomas is still on the loose, and now he’s using her as a pawn in a dangerous game with the drug cartel determined to silence her forever. When Thomas and a mysterious masked man capture not only Anna but also her fragile younger sister and her boyfriend, Anna decides it’s time to break all the rules-even if it means teaming up with the lesser of two evils.

Anna will do whatever it takes to protect the people she loves and win her life back once and for all. But her true enemies are hidden in plain sight. Before long, Anna will learn that putting her trust in anyone may be the last mistake she ever makes.

After reading The Rules For Disappearing, I knew I wanted to pick up the sequel.  I was pretty curious about what happened to Anna after the events of that book unfolded.  The Rules For Breaking was okay, and I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

I did like seeing what was going on with Anna, and how things weren’t over for her, even though they seemed to be.  I loved her dedication to her family and friends, and how loyal she was.  She really did want to protect them and keep them safe, and I really liked that about her.

It’s definitely action-packed and though predictable at times, it was a pretty fast read.  Anna doesn’t know who to trust, and we’re definitely along for the ride.  It’s more action-packed than the previous book, that’s for sure.  The first book was more of a mystery, trying to figure out what was going on, and why they were in Witness Protection.  This one was more dealing with the aftermath of what happened in that first book.

One thought that was going through my head when I was reading this book was how well the first book worked as a stand-alone.  I was wondering where the story was going to go, since things were pretty resolved in the last book.  There is more story to tell, and Anna’s life after leaving Witness Protection, with people still out to get her, is one way to go.  I liked seeing her story, don’t get me wrong, and I’m glad I finished this series, but the first book does work pretty well on it’s own.

2 stars.  The Rules For Breaking was more action-packed than the first book, and I loved how Anna would do anything for her family.  I just wasn’t as into this book as I thought I would be.