This round-up is a day late because I honestly forgot about it until late yesterday. Either way, this month wasn’t terribly productive in terms of ARCs, but they were all decent. It was also the first time I conducted an author interview, so that was exciting!
- A Whole New World – Liz Braswell: “It’s YA, but it feels like the young end of YA – more 12-14 than 14-16 – which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but don’t go in expecting something scandalous, even if there are some surprisingly violent scenes.” (3 interrobangs)
- A Curse of Ash and Iron – Christine Norris: “I felt like it was lacking something. It was a decent story and it had some really fascinating elements, but my inability to connect with the characters made it a hard read.” (2.5 interrobangs)
- The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl – Ishbelle Bee: “The writing continues to have a lovely lyrical quality to it, even when she’s writing descriptions of a massacre.” (4 interrobangs)
- I also got the chance to interview the lovely Ishbelle Bee, which you can read here.
- Placid Girl – Brenna Ehrlich: “I liked the concept, and I think it serves as an excellent cautionary tale.” (3 interrobangs)
Placid Girl – Brenna Ehrlich
Punk was created for the malcontents, something that loner and aspiring drummer Hallie understands all too well. Trapped in a boring suburban life – dysfunctional parents included! – Hallie drowns her angst in the angry songs of Haze, a masked musician who has not been heard from in five years. So naturally she’s surprised – and more than a little skeptical – when someone who seems to be Haze starts flirting with her via her favorite photo-sharing app. Is he who he says he is? What does he want from her? The questions only multiply when Hallie — along with bandmate Sarah and aspiring music journalist Steve — roadtrip to Haze’s comeback gig to unmask the reclusive musician once and for all.
Release Date: August 25th, 2015
Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
I requested this book because I heard that it was supposed to be good, plus I love reading music-related YA!
What I liked:
-each chapter starts with lyrics from one of Haze’s songs. They “sounded” real, so it was sometimes easy to forget that Haze doesn’t actually exist.
-as with most books that deal with music, I love any scene where they mention music. Whether it was the bands that Hallie used to listen to with her dad, or the feeling of being at a concert (either on stage or in the audience), those moments connected with me on a deeper level and helped me get into Hallie’s head.
-Bethany was probably my favourite character. You get the sense that she’s “seen stuff” and the drug use probably didn’t help, but she was interesting. I liked how she seemed to be a soothing presence for Sarah, who was so messed up.
-the last couple of sentences were sent a shiver up my spine…in a good way!
What I didn’t like:
-if you were paying even a little bit of attention, you could easily figure out who “Haze” was. It was fairly obvious, and yet, it took Hallie and Steve an extraordinarily long time to clue in to it. So that was annoying, but I suppose it made sense with their characters.
Also, their evidence for ZZZ being Haze was shockingly slim. Like, you really don’t think anyone else in the WORLD has that same bird tattoo? Or has access to masks?
-the writing style was super flowery. It reminded me of the my fifth grade teacher who insisted we inundate our writing with “figurative language”, a habit we then had to unlearn during the rest of our school career because teachers were like “just get to the point, and stop using so many adjectives”.
The similes were as numerous as the stars in the sky and they fell upon my eyes like the after-effects of fireworks while I undulated* like a snake in the grass.
*the word “undulate” was used at least four times and it was a tiny bit jarring, if only because the word itself isn’t exactly common.
-background information was lacking. I wanted to know more about Sarah’s family life, what exactly it was that was happening with her mom (it was implied, but mostly left up to interpretation). I want to know why Steve’s father was MINI SPOILER ALERT abusive, if he had always been like that, or if it was his way of dealing with grief (I don’t remember if that was explored at all).
-I didn’t really mind it (mostly because I could see it coming from a mile away), but it was almost too convenient how everything played out, and how everyone was connected.
Overall, I liked the concept, and I think it serves as an excellent cautionary tale. I don’t know how many of you keep up-to-date with this kind of thing, but musicians making inappropriate gestures towards their (young, usually underage) fans is unfortunately quite common.