ARC Review | WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power

Goodreads

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.


I feel like it is a big no-no when the letter from the editor in the beginning compares the book you’re about to read to Lord of the Flies by William Golding and then further states it is a more feminist take on the theme. That then not only sets up the expectation for the book to reach the standard of a staple, classic masterpiece, but then also has to make it into some sort of social movement piece.

And, while no one should really care about my opinion, I guess (or I’d be getting paid money to write these), but just because you have a 95% female cast of characters does not make it a feminist novel. Not every novel has to be contorted to fit into a social movement. And just because these characters are on an island and some of them die definitely does not make it anything close to Lord of the Flies.

I mean, the writing was spectacular. It is true that Power knows what she is doing and knows how to write strong, compelling sentences. But her writing style, in my opinion, does not fit in the YA genre. My girlfriend can attest to this next statement in that I fell asleep (yes, actually fell asleep in the middle of the day with this book in my hand) three times. The descriptions were extremely lengthy and repetitive throughout the novel, mimicking more of an adult fiction vibe. These descriptions, I feel, are going to have teens setting the book back on the shelf and moving on to something a little more action-packed.

That brings me to the next thing — there is no resolution, and basically, no point to this book. I just really felt that nothing happened in it. We had weird POV changes in the middle a few times that were promising, but, in the end, fell flat. Not to mention that you do not get any answers that you seem promised from the beginning. Having invested in a 350 page novel for no answers is beyond disappointing.

While I am still working towards my degree, I feel like I am more than adequately competent in reading deeper into literature, and I just couldn’t see this as having any feminist type themes minus the cast of characters being female (don’t even get me started on the editor comparing it to Lord of the Flies).

If somebody has the rest of this book and wants to send it to me, please email me.

tldr; this was a snooze fest with no payoff

Rating:

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ARC Review | NO IVY LEAGUE by Hazel Newlevant

Amazon | Goodreads

RELEASE DATE: Aug. 20, 2019

208 Pages

When 17-year-old Hazel takes a summer job clearing ivy from the forest in Portland, Oregon, the only plan is to earn some extra cash to put toward concert tickets. Homeschooled, affluent, and sheltered, Hazel soon finds that working side by side with at-risk teens leaves no room for comforting illusions of equality and understanding. This uncomfortable and compelling memoir is an important story of a teen’s awakening to the racial insularity of the upper class, the power of white privilege, and the hidden history of segregation in Portland.


I had the pleasure of grabbing an ARC and meeting the author of this graphic novel at Bookcon. I was very intrigued and also slightly nervous, as this graphic novel tackles some serious issues in a brief amount of time: race, sexuality, etc.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. The graphic novel is aware of what it is, and knows that it’s hard to cover such dense material in such a brief time period. But what this is isn’t a manifesto, but the beginning of someone’s maturing mind into being what is aware around them and how to deal with those things.

I felt myself even going to a sort of nostalgia with this piece. Again, I really enjoyed it, and thought it was very well done (and you know I’m picky with my graphic novels).

Rating:


What’s your favorite graphic novel ? Let’s chat in the comments!

ARC Review | SWIPE RIGHT FOR MURDER by Derek Milman (DNF)

Goodreads

On the run from the FBI.
Targeted by a murderous cult.
Labeled a cyber-terrorist by the media.
Irritated texts from his best friend.
Eye contact with a nice-looking guy on the train.
Aidan has a lot to deal with, and he’s not quite sure which takes top priority.

Finding himself alone in a posh New York City hotel room for the night, Aidan does what any red-blooded seventeen-year-old would do—he tries to hook up with someone new. But that lapse in judgement leads to him waking up next to a dead guy, which sparks an epic case of mistaken identity that puts Aidan on the run from everyone—faceless federal agents, his eccentric family, and, naturally, a cyber-terrorist group who will stop at nothing to find him.

He soon realizes the only way to stop the chase is to deliver the object everyone wants, before he gets caught or killed. But for Aidan, the hardest part is knowing who he can trust not to betray him—including himself.


Listent to me here . . .

Please go into this review with a warning. Since I did not fully complete this novel (oh, though I sure tried, since I wanted to give it that genuine 1-star it so deserves), I do not know what happens past page 145 out 436 ARC pages.

But, I finished almost 1/3 of it, so . . . take with that what you will.

. . .

When I think of a well structured book on a highly political topic, or really, any book for that matter, I like to think of it as a cake.

You have your topping <—- basic premise of the book, i.e. genre, basic goal, etc. Essentially what you would tell people if someone was like, “Hey! What’s that book you’re reading about?”

You have your cake <—- this is essentially the entirety of the story arc, laid out, step by step

You have your frosting layers <—- these layers are by far the hardest part of a story to develop, yet are also the most important. They have to be subtle. They are the deeper meaning of your story (whether that be equal rights or any other controversial issue). I like to think of this as the moral of the story.

If your frosting layers are too thick, your teeth are going to hurt and you’re going to be like yup that’s frosting!

Well, what we have with Swipe Right for Murder is absolutely only frosting. Essentially, a huge chunk of frosting. Plopped on a plate. With a spoon to eat it with. (That’s maybe something?) Oh, but the spoon breaks and you can’t even taste the frosting. Sorry, no frosting for you 😦

Anyway, anyway . . .

When I started this book, I was met with the main character, as usual in a book. I was met with the secondary characters, also the norm.

And all of them are pretentious and represent some sort of minority or stereotype? Miraculously?

For instance . . .

Aidan is white. He is also gay. Also, within the first twelve pages he mentions how all of his friends are attractive. Also that he’s gay. Oh, did you know that Aidan is gay? Because, if you didn’t, Aidan is gay, and you should definitely know that.

(Pssst, Aidan is gay.)

His friend, Jackson, is black. Superstar looking, yet makes sure to put Aidan in his place by telling him having to deal with being gay is nothing compared to being black in America because invalidating your best-friend’s feelings is a thing, now.

We have Aidan’s parents. Who are probably homophobic . . . yet they accept Aidan. Yet, they think being gay is unnatural.

OHHHH and we have murdous terroist group that seems to be killing politicians who have voted against LGBT rights in terrosits attacks in unrealistic scenarios (such as controlling a pacemaker, IV and car brakes remotely).

Essentially, there was zero character development in the 145 pages accept maybe Aidian is okay with all of the killing? I don’t know.

I’m in the minority here when I say that this book is toxic, as it has a 4.5 star rating on Goodreads right now. When I say toxic, I’m saying a political agenda seems to be shoved down some kids throats here. In other words, if it’s looking to change someone’s mind about something, I feel, at the ARC’s stage, it would blatantly fail, as anyone who has any sort of anything against left-wingers would immediately catch on to what’s happening within the first twenty pages and put it down anyway.

I wish I could also quote some of the dialogue here directly, because it is also pretty toxic. For instance, the second Jackson complains about being black in America he suddenly developed a dialect and starts using the word ain’t? Does anyone else not see a problem with this?

Like I said, maybe I’m in the few here, but please, please, if you have any sense for what should be considered good, left wing writing, do not pick this up.


What makes you DNF a book? Let’s chat in the comments!