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Dear Evan Hansen ARC Review

Author [s]: Yal Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul Dear Evan Hansen
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October9, 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Photo Credit: Goodreads.com

Where to buy: Amazon|Barnes & Noble

*Thank you Little, Brown for providing a free advanced readers copy of Sadie during BookExpo America*

Synopsis:
Dear Evan Hansen,

Today’s going to be an amazing day and here’s why…

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore–even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be?

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He’s confident. He’s a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

Review:

This book is a novelization of the Broadway Play. I’ve actually never seen the play so I was going into this book with a fresh, new perspective on it. Let’s just say that this book was much better than I expected even with some of the things I did not particularly enjoy. **This novel does discusses suicide, so it may not be a read for all audiences. **

We’re initially introduced to Evan Hansen, a teenager boy with a broken arm and a story to tell. Evan write letters to himself as a way to deal with the day and bring down his level of anxiety. Evan also has a broken arm from his ranger days [or at least that is what he is telling everyone -won’t mention because it is too much of a spoiler].  I had a difficult time always okaying Evan’s next move. Each step got him deeper into a situation I don’t believe he was ready to take on because he wanted to make someone happy. Once Connor commits suicide, the letter than Evan writes to himself falls into the hands of Connor’s family which in turn leads to the drastic and sometimes questionable actions Evan takes. Although, there were times that I may have yelled what are you doing at the book to Evan, I did appreciate how hard he wanted to help even though he went about it in a way most people wouldn’t think of doing it.

I really appreciated hearing about Connor through Connor’s perspective. It was sad that it was done after he died, but it ultimately gave us so much insight into his life. Connor was misunderstood and could live his fullest life. Being a teen was hard enough for him bad falling for a boy who couldn’t be open made his life much more complicated. Connor was hurting and couldn’t talk about the hurt, instead he built it up inside. Connor’s backstory also gave way to understanding his family and their dynamic of living.

I may just be a fan of multiples Point of Views in a story because I enjoyed it in Evan Hansen. IT worked so well being able to go back and forth and hearing both from Evan and Connor. There were also characters like a friend of Connor’s and Connor’s sister that had some dialogue which added more to the story and added more crucial pieces to the puzzle as the story went along.  I was initially expecting a screenplay and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. The author’s managed to create a play into a full novel with pretty decent plot and character development.

The book was a good read, I’d give it that. I obviously had some issues with it including Evan’s inability to just speak up but as the story went, I understood it more and felt connected to him and his own self journey through everything that was done for Connor. One letter created a movement, one letter gave hope and one letter help a teenage boy discover and fight his own bottled up emotions and struggles. It was an emotional read but one that inspired me to live happily by being my truest self.

 

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Sadie ARC Review

Author: Courtney Summers Image result for sadie by courtney summers
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Photo Credit: Goodreads.com

Where to buy: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|McNally Jackson

Content Warning: Discussion of – Child abuse, Child Pornography

*Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a free advanced readers copy of Sadie during BookExpo America* [This is a delayed post!]

Synopsis:

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

 

Review:

This book was such a good thriller. Throughout the story I kept wanting to know more about Sadie, her past, her path towards destroying the man who broke her family and what destination she was bound to take us to next.

The story was form two different perspectives, that of Sadie herself and the other of the folks on the podcast, The Girls. As a fan of multiple perspectives in a story, this did not disappoint. We were hearing West McCray’s path towards finding Sadie while simultaneously being thrown back into Sadie’s world as the mystery was unfolding. The author masterfully took on not only different perspectives but different timelines of events which work beautifully with how the story was meant to be told. The dual perspectives also added substance to the mystery of Sadie. I was on the edge of each page as I, along with West McCray was trying to find Sadie while also having the advantage of being in Sadie’s mind and following her next unpredictable move. The podcast perspective also gave way to a set of characters who were secondary in importance but still played a role in who Sadie was.

Sadie was such a well-developed character. She was strong, vengeful, intense and confident. She was a woman on a mission to avenge her sister and herself. Sadie used what she had to be a quick and forceful character. Her development was so extraordinary. Through her mission, we had a glimpse of young Sadie before she was stripped of the little happiness she had left. She was a protector through and through and sacrifices herself in many instances to save her sister. However, her only mistake, led to her sister’s hope which led her sister to her own murder. Although Sadie blames herself, I can see why it was done and in no way would have blamed Sadie for her action. She loved her sister Maddie more than herself and did anything to ease the pain their mother created when she left them. We see Sadie develop into a stronger and more clever woman with each encounter that it makes you think whether her trail is made for her to be found or made to forever question where is Sadie.

I really enjoyed the alternate timelines because it made myself think of what will happen next. It gave more questions than answers, but it allowed me to play detective along with West and figure out this case. Aside from the alternate timelines, the twists were extraordinary woven into the storyline and truly surprised me throughout the way. For example, the twist of the postcard and the importance it then had to understanding Sadie and Mattie’s mother was something I did not expect. Each twist gave more sense and suspense to the story and the author masterfully wrote the story to continue to capture that aha or gasp moment. Another favorite moment was the investment West gave into the case as he researched further into it. We knew he was invested, but he became driven to find Sadie after reading the horrors she faced as a child and what continued to haunt her as a young adult. I was glad to receive the backstory of May Beth and Sadie’s mother along with the corrupted and heinous past of the man May Beth believed was the best man in Sadie’s mother’s life. It showed that what is seen on the outside isn’t always what is really happening on the inside of a person’s home.

Overall, this book was amazing, and I could write pages on how much of a page turner it was. It was raw, intense and kept you at the edge of your toes. Courtney Summers created a story you became invested in even if you didn’t realize it after turning that first page. I would recommend this to older teens and adults because of some of the violent nature discussed in it. If you are craving a great thriller with profound gasp worthy moments, Sadie is the book to read. But be warned, you will end wanting to find Sadie yourself and you won’t regret it. #FindSadie

 

*Sadie comes out today, September 4th. Be sure to stop by your local bookstore to request/buy or copy or support your local library through borrowing the book and requesting more copies for more folks to read*

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City of Ghosts Book Review

Author: Victoria Schwab Image result for city of ghosts victoria schwab scholastic
Pages: 304
Genre: Middle Grade Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Photo Credit: Scholastic.com

Where to buy: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|The Strand

 

Synopsis:
Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn’t like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost.

So things are already pretty strange. But they’re about to get much stranger.

When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift,” she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil — and herself.

And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

Review:

“Watch and listen, see and know, this is who you are.”

In the City of Ghosts, we meet Cassidy Blake, a young girl who cheated death and now has one foot in the living world and one in the world of the dead. With Jacob, her ghost friend and hero, they explore the veil much to Jacob’s disapproval at times when that tapping feeling overcomes Cassidy’s resistance to avoid it. Through her adventures and a trip to Scotland for her parents TV show, Cassidy learns more about who she is and how being who she is not always safe for her.

This book was amazing. From the descriptions and plot, it was a hit!

We are introduced to two worlds as mentioned above. Victoria created the veil as a hauntingly beautiful world. It was desirable , yet dangerous. I cannot express how much i enjoyed the descriptions of the veil and of Edinburgh. It felt as if the reader was heading on the journey themselves and can feel the crisp air or hear the call of the veil.

Cassidy and Jacob are the perfect duo. Both friends, Jacob is also responsible for Cassidy being alive today. This supernatural save allows both Cassidy and Jacob to be intertwined with each and allow both to co-exist in the others world. I loved Jacob and his role as being the voice of caution to Cassidy’s adventurous spirit. Each time Cassidy felt the tapping from the veil, Jacob would be there to talk reason into why she shouldn’t answer the tapping. Although not success in his attempts, I appreciated the human element Victoria gave to Jacob’s character. I also Enjoyed Lara’s character. She was a spunky ghost hunter who had the same ability to walk both worlds as Cassidy. What I enjoyed most about Lara was her ability to be a ghost hunter but still have a certain ghost she knew. Since this is going to be a series, I would love to see more of Lara’s backstory because I think it would be an interesting one.

Although the plot started off a bit slow, it did pick up during the second half of the book and it was not a dissappoint. The second half of hte book was filled with paranormal action. As a reader, we come face to face with the Raven in Red, a powerful ghost who steals thesouls of children to gain strength. Her backstory adds so much to her diabolical behjavior as a ghost. Cassidy, Jacob and Lara fight between a battle with the Raven in Red as the ethereal being threathens Cassidy’s life and ability to return back home. I wanted to see more development towards the end point. The first half focus most of how Cassidy came to be which made the second half feel rushed. However, the author allowed myself to continually stay engaged with ech page turned.

This was just a ghost story. It was a story of friendship, discovery and grand adventures. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a lively ghost story.