Book Review / Feed

Author: M.T Anderson
Genre: Dystopian Young Adult
Year Published: 2002
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Length: 299 pages

Synopsis:
In a world taken over by capitalism and marketing, everyone is constantly bombarded by advertising by the feed, a chip implanted in their brains. Titus and his friends are completely used to this constant advertising. And then Titus meets Violet who is completely different from everyone else he knows. Violent challenges they very ideals and beliefs Titus grew up with, and he’s not sure he likes that. As their relationship develops they also begin to see the feed in a new light.

My Perspective:
This book took a different route than I was expecting. It was more of a love story with social commentary hanging out in the background. I went into this book expecting it to be all take down the man and scream it from the mountaintops. Which in a way made it more powerful. It showed how normally and easily technology came to run everything. Everything felt so much more normal than I was expecting.

The characters were very genuine and relatable. They seem so normal despite the weird feed and everything that goes on with that. Titus and Violet are very much products of their environment. Titus grew up with the feed. Everything about it is so normal to him. Violet, on the other hand, received the feed later in life and grew up with a father who is against it. These teens are trying to reconcile their beliefs and their relationship, and really just trying to figure out life.

M.T Anderson never fails to create interesting worlds with relatable characters. Overall I really enjoyed this read. It was a easy quick read, but also very thought provoking.

My Rating: 4 hackers out of 5

Book Review / The Impossible Knife of Memory

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Year Published: 2014
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Length: 391 page

Synopsis:
Hayley Kincain is far from your typical high school senior. After being home schooled for five years as her dad worked as a semi-truck driver, she finds herself back in the halls of public high school. Throughout first, and last, year in high school Hayley juggles a father suffering from PTSD, trying to access her own memories from her childhood, figuring out the rules to dating, and not doing great at actually passing her classes. Hayley skirts on the brink of disaster in her life on a daily basis. Will she let the memories tear her way through and trust that she can recover? Or will the pressure of taking care of her dad become too much to handle?

My Thoughts:
I just have to start out with proclaiming my love for Laurie Halse Anderson. She is seriously the queen of YA. Anderson takes big issues and weaves them into incredible heart-wrenching tales of love, loss, and belonging.

The ways in which Anderson explained Andy and Hayley’s relationship was so realistic. She didn’t try to sugar coat their dynamic, but showed how complex it was. The constant turmoil Hayley went through of loving and wanting to help her father, but also wanting to just be a normal teenager for once felt was so genuine.

I also loved seeing the highs and lows Andy went through from Hayley’s perspective. This book was a very real exploration of a child living with a parent suffering from PTSD.

I can’t talk about this book without talking about Finn. Hayley and Finn’s relationship was precious, and just as complex as everything else in Hayley’s life. Again, Anderson succeeded in create genuine, realistic relationships between her characters. I think insta-love is all too common in YA. And sure, sometimes it works. But, it wouldn’t have for Finn and Hayley. The fact that Hayley had never really dealt with the realm of boys and relationships became very real in the way she approached her relationship with Finn right from the start. Seriously though, that date he tricked her into? Adorable. Also, the fact that Finn had his own emotional baggage was perfect for Hayley. Sure, they were kind of crap at communicating, but that’s pretty typical for a high school relationship. They definitely learned to be what the each other needed.

For me the sign of a good book is when it makes me emotional. If I am so attached to the lives of these characters that I can’t hold it together, that’s a good sign. This book did just that. I laughed, I cried, I swooned, and I yelled. The Impossible Knife of Memory was just as fantastic as any of Anderson’s other works.

A Really Awesome Mess / Book Review

Author: Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Year Published: 2013
Publisher: Egmont
Length: 275

Synopsis:
Justin is a sixteen year old with daddy issues and a sex drive. Emmy, an adopted Chinese girl, desperately seeks love to the point of developing an eating disorder. Both of these teenagers land in Heartland Academy, a therapeutic boarding school. Thrown into a rag tag group for therapy these two find themselves in crazy adventures, making new friends, and even confronting their own issues.

My Perspective:

I was not the biggest fan of this book. I got it for free for volunteering at a book sale on my campus, so no harm no foul really. Emmy and Justin both annoyed me. I know they were dealing with very valid issues, but they just seemed so whiney. The character change throughout the book felt forced and sudden. They were both so reluctant to work on their own life issues, that when they finally started to it felt ingenuine. I sort of liked the all the other characters in their therapy group, mostly because they were funny. I just had the hardest time getting invested in their lives. Typically, I love books about kids in therapy because usually the characters are complex and I really enjoy trying to figure them out. But, Emmy and Justin just seemed flat and cliche and boring.

Same with the plot. I was not invested in what was happening. It was definitely fun. The kids were all about crazy hijinks. More than they cared about their own character development honestly. Their adventures were a bit unrealistic though.

Overall, I just think this book wasn’t my cup of tea. Or a wrong book at the wrong time type of deal.

My Rating: 1 jailbroken pig out of 5.
You’ll like this book if: You enjoy fun reads full of hijinks and shenanigans.
You’ll dislike this book it: Typical characters that fall flat.