No time to track down full reviews of YA books? Seashell Reviews offers bite-size thoughts to let you know which books you shouldn’t pass up, and which ones you can hold off for another day. Original titled blog feature by Angel @ Mermaid Vision Books.
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Say the word “mixtape” and my inner 90s child is immediately lost in raptures of joy, while teens today might just answer you with “huh?” Likewise, Meagan Brothers’s story isn’t one that will connect with teens growing up in the age of iPods and Spotify, but it does resonate for us readers who fondly remember the days of CD releases and radio taping. The early 1990s comes to life in Brothers’s writing style, and I adored both the setting and the way the story brought back memories of my early childhood. I also genuinely enjoyed Maria as a character–it was easy to root for her as she struggled to carve out her identity within her family and alonside her music. While the tone of the book itself can seem youthful at times, it does serve to bring one back to those “good old days” of listening to boomboxes and the surprise of hearing one’s favourite song on the radio. Is there anything better?
I have many dear memories of favourite middle-grade novels, like The Giver and Bridge to Terabithia. They served to ignite my imagination and tell me truths adults may have been reluctant to share with an 8- or-9-year-old. The Storm Makers is a novel worthy of joining those much-loved books. The POV and narration were stellar, lively enough to keep young readers’ attention but insightful enough to please older readers as well. In fact, there was an amazing depth to the story, to the point where it stopped reading like a MG novel and the adventure just took over. Jennifer E. Smith’s focus on the friendship between Simon and Ruby is the cornerstone of this remarkable novel, which will gain new fans with every reread.
Having grown up with the Royal Diaries and Disney Princesses, my fascination with royalty won’t come as a surprise to anyone. One of the things I loved most in books about princesses was the attention to detail, the way authors could make you feel as though you were the princess in the story, be it about Anastasia, Elizabeth I or Sara Crewe. Sadly, this was not the case with Galaxy Craze’s The Last Princess. A raggedy plot combined with pacing that could give one whiplash does not make for a pleasing story. I wanted desperately to like Eliza and cheer for her, but I could barely find a moment to gain my footing in the story, much less understand her plight or her sudden romance. As a post-apocalyptic stories go, The Last Princess fails to impress or elicit any strong impressions.