Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

We Are the Ants There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.

Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.

What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

My Review: 4 Stars

While they are also very different books, this book was in a way reminiscent to More Happy Than Not, which is a compliment since I really like that book.  Both the books were contemporary with a slight twist and they have MCs who are gay boys.  Also, they both don't shy away from having parts that are brutal.  I really liked this book.  It was interesting with the part about the end of the world, and not knowing if it was actually real or not.

Henry was a really great main character.  I grew to love him a lot over the course of the story.  He was bullied at school and it could be tough.  While Henry was gay, the majority of the bullying to did not seem to be directly homophobic.  In fact, the fact that Henry was gay seemed very matter-of-fact and not a big deal.  Instead, the bullying seemed to be because his brother had told the school about Henry's encounters with aliens, so the kids made fun of him and called him "Space Boy."  A lot of times the bullying was through words, but there was also a physical violent assault that was not good to read about at all.

One of his main bullies is Marcus and I very much did not like Marcus.  The strangest thing about Marcus was that he and Henry had a enemies with benefits kind of relationship, and he was still such a jerk.  Then sometimes he would act nice and sincere, and I never really knew which was the real Marcus.  But by the end, I knew I definitely disliked him.

Diego and Audrey were both characters that I liked.  Diego had just come to Henry's school.  He and Henry pretty quickly became friends, and Henry developed feelings for him, and I won't say whether or not they were reciprocated.  Audrey was friends with Jesse, who was Henry's boyfriend and committed suicide, and she also was friends with Henry because of Jesse.  She and Henry had kind of stopped being friends after Jesse's suicide but they became friends again in this book.  

Henry's brother Charlie was an interesting character.  He was basically a jerk at the beginning of the book but he grew and matured a lot over the course of the book, especially when he got his girlfriend pregnant and decided he really wanted to be a dad.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.



Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review: The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

The Abyss Surrounds Us (The Abyss Surrounds Us, #1) For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she's not about to stop.

My Review: 5 Stars

This book is technically outside of my typical genre for reading, yet I still loved it so much.  My favorite part of it was definitely the relationships between the various characters in the book.

My favorite relationship in this book is the one between Cas and Swift.  It is a slow burn hate to love, and hate to love is one of my favorite relationship tropes.  The book deals with how they are in positions of different levels of power, which makes a relationship for them difficult.  Swift is essentially helping holding Cas captive.  And Cas's choices are tied to whether or not Swift will be allowed to live.  And somewhere along the way, both of them fell for each other.  It was a great progression to see when Swift kept Cas safe because she just cared about her own life and the transition to her keeping Cas safe because Cas's life matters to her.  I shipped the two of them so much, though it wasn't always an easy and pain-free ship.

The world in this book is really interesting.  It's a very aquatic world, with pirates and other ships that they attack.  The whole thing with the sea monsters is also interesting, since they are trained to guard ships and fight off the pirates.  There is a lot involved with the training of them sometimes.  It is definitely not a safe job.  Cas has been trained to do this job throughout her life, though she never intended to do it on a pirate's ship.  She questions the morality of many things throughout the story, learning that maybe she's almost as bad as the pirate's and hypocritical in thinking that what they do is wrong and what she does is right.

If you like YA sci-fi or just books with good character relationships, read this book.


Monday, February 1, 2016

February Releases I'm Most Excited For

February 2nd:
The Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin - This sounds like a really interesting book unique from anything I've ever read before.

 Symptoms of Being Human

February 8th:
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie - While this isn't in my usual genre of what I read, it sounds really good, and I want to read it.

The Abyss Surrounds Us

February 23rd:
After the Woods by Kim Savage - This book sounds really dark and interesting.  I wonder what happened when these girls were in the woods.

After the Woods