It’s Grace and I’m here today to do some mini-reviews! I hope y’all are having great weeks. This week, I’ve taken an exam, performed in a chorus concert, and I’ve been working towards the Interlochen deadline, which ends on Saturday! I’m currently reading Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan. I’ve finished a lot of books in the past few weeks though, so I hope y’all enjoy hearing my thoughts on them!
What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
What’s Left of Me first grabbed my attention with its gorgeous cover. I’d been waiting for this book for ages and was so happy when I got a copy. From the first page, I was hooked. The unique concept and absorbing writing make it a hit for me and really kept me glued to the pages.
It was very interesting for me as a twin reading about Addie and Eva. Their relationship seemed very twin-like. They both loved each other and tried to understand each other but were different. Eva was the recessive soul and had issues with that and they seemed to grow apart at times when Eva felt strong. They both understood each others’ pains and frustrations and were closer than sisters. When Hannah and I get into fights, we make up later in the day because we can’t stand not talking to each other. Addie and Eva were the same way. They acted very similarly to Hannah and I, so I thought that was really interesting.Most authors have difficulty describing the intimate relationship between twins unless they’re twins themselves, and even then it’s hard to put into words. Kat Zhang was spot-on when she discussed their relationship.
The world-building and the plot were fantastic. It ran by a standard formula: rebelling against the government or hiding a secret, but it brought a fresh take to an old trend. New points of view and ideas made it innovative instead of stale. The writing was superb; Kat Zhang really has an incredible talent. Plus, the cover is GORGEOUS. Anyways, combining her excellent writing with the spot-on pacing, shocking twists, and characters that I couldn’t help but fall in love with? An amazing read that left my emotions tangled.
Endlessly by Kiersten White
It took me ages to steel myself to read it. I vividly remember my first time reading Paranormalcy. We went out to dinner and I brought it with me to read under the table because I didn’t want to stop. Evie’s colorful snark and charm was unlike anything else and imbued the pages with a distinct voice. I’m a fan of anything paranormal and I loved the creepy-crawlies scattered throughout the pages. I loved it so much.
The series has gotten more complex throughout the trilogy and I love it. Secrets, tentative loyalties, and mercurial characters make everything a thousand times more interesting. Evie’s developed as a character and it made it harder than ever to let her go. She and Lend have a type of relationship that I love to read about: they face their hurdles and are closer than best friends, but they’re also still in love. Kiersten White has done an excellent job developing and deepening their relationship throughout the series. In Endlessly, they face challenges that they’ve never faced before and they still fight for what they believe in.
There are so many little things that just contribute to my overall impression about the series and this particular book. Jack is freaking hilarious and will always be one of my favorites, we got to understand more of Evie’s characters, and I loved how Evie made an effort to reconnect with Vivian. Their family dynamic was excellent.
Overall, although I was deeply saddened to put away the series, I loved it completely. It managed to delve into everything that it needed to and wrapped up everything nicely. There was some grief and some laughter, but it was bittersweet and joyful to read.
Winter White by Jen Calonita
I love Southern adorable books, and this one fit the mold very well. Jen Calonita wrote one of my favorite books (Sleepaway Girls) and manages to interweave the confusion and struggles of regular teen life with an engaging and humorous plot in all of her novels. Her characters are spunky and sweet, and all of her books are wonderfully written. There’s just enough of everything to keep a nice balance and just make them great to read, especially if you want to be cheered up.
Emerald Cove is such a picture-perfect place, even though it’s rife with politics and mean debutantes. Everybody is still puzzling over what the revelation at the end of Belles means for them and the town, and it’s both political and enjoyable. There’s a lot of drama hidden behind sugary-sweet smiles. I love Izzie and Mirabelle are such interesting characters to me. Izzie may have had a worse upbringing, but Jen Calonita makes her development realistic instead of delving into stereotypes. Mirabelle also seems like she would be a stereotype, but is rounded out enough to make her completely unique. I really enjoyed their relationship and how they overcame hurdles. Yes, they fought and they were still getting to know each other, but they were still close friends and learning to be closer.
I loved the debutante storyline so so much. My sister was a debutante and she hated it and loved it at the same time, but in Tampa, it’s an entirely different dynamic. I loved reading about classically Southern traditions (because I love reading about the South, y’all!) and the take on it all was very fresh and lovely. It was funny and delightful. My only caution is that a lot of what happens is subtly handled and more implied, so if you’re more a fan of direct action, you may not love it as much. But between the beautifully handled romance and positively charming characters, I fell in love with Emerald Cove and the entire Belles world all over again.
Recommended for anybody who loves: She’s the Man; Sleepaway Girls; Jennifer Echols; etc,.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Everybody was gushing about this book for so long. It was actually making me really nervous to pick it up because I was worried that I’d be disappointed. The only other book of Libba Bray’s that I’ve read was A Great and Terrible Beauty, which was one of my first YA books. While I enjoyed it, I didn’t enjoy it quite enough to obsess over it.
Libba has this incredible way of describing things that I absolutely love – she manages to pick out the little things and describe them so vividly that when it’s all put together, it’s an incredibly immersive experience. The rich setting and dark secrets made for an exceptional read. The world-building of this was absolutely lovely. I felt like I was stepping backwards in time and was plunged into a deceptive race against time. The sinister cult interweaves darkness and history into the plot. The characters were expressive, especially Evie. Evie’s flamboyant embrace of the flapper lifestyle was so entertaining to me.
There were so many plot lines in this book. At first it was kind of confusing being introduced to all the characters and plot points, but as the story went on, it settled into a rhythm and the stories got closer and closer together. It got even more intense as the story went on and there was so much tension pulsing throughout everything. Strong supporting characters that I couldn’t help but care about also made the story even more gripping. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down, even though it’s really long. I fell asleep reading it because I stayed up so late one night and I even DREAMT about this book. Creepy, mystical, and with a haunting unlike anything else out there! If you’re a fan of history, anything paranormal, or are looking for a book to keep you up all night on the edge of your seat, this is the book for you.
Recommended for anybody who loves: Venom; Carnival of Souls; historical fiction; (Okay, this might be cheating but The End of the Affair episode of The Vampire Diaries – the exquisite setting and dark tension matches The Diviners perfectly!)
I have to go finish studying now! Thank y’all so much for reading -I hope y’all enjoyed!