Teaser Tuesdays (April 24)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

How it Works:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

“The glitches were sudden, random, and more intense than anything I’d felt before. I had no idea why, which made it all the more terrifying.”

“I wanted to close my eyes and stop up my ears. I needed to escape, to hide. But there was nowhere I could go. Nowhere I was truly safe.”

– 38% of the way through digital galley of Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

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Review: Frost by Kate Avery Ellison

Frost is the first novel in yet another new dystopian series. I’d say something sarcastic about the need for new dystopian series right now, given the severe shortage and all, but the truth is I love the current trend. I like reading about the imaginary and plausible-to-varying-degrees worlds that authors can come up with.

It’s the same reason I like reading books about dragons. And aliens.

Still waiting for someone to send me a book about dragons and aliens, BTW. Just a reminder.

Anyway, I like books that spark my imagination. Real life has enough drama to make me not want to spend my precious reading hours delving into fake “real-life” drama. (Yes, I know, there’s always exceptions. But I’m all about broad generalizations right now)

So I picked up Frost based on 4 factors:

1) It was another YA dystopian, and I like those.

2) It had a good rating on Amazon.

3) The cover was pretty.

4) It was short (194 pages), and I wanted something short to balance out the epic fantasy novels I’ve been trudging through lately (I say “trudging” like this is somehow painful for me. It’s not. Just loooooong).

It turns out that reason 3 was a sham, because the cover has absolutely nothing to do with what the book is about.

[One of these days I’m going to learn a valuable about judging books by their covers. But that day is not today.]

What the Book Is About

Frost is the story of Lia, a teenage orphan taking care of her crippled twin brother and younger sister. They live on a farm near a small village in The Frost, a hostile and chilly area located somewhere near mountains and forests. Maybe Canada. I don’t know.

Lia has her share of troubles. First, she has been responsible for providing for her family since her parents were brutally killed by Watchers, mysterious and vicious beasts living in the forests of The Frost.

Second, between the Watchers and the equally mysterious and slightly less vicious Farthers — the people who live outside The Frost — Lia lives in constant fear for her and her family’s safety.

And third, she and her sister just rescued an injured Farther from the Watchers, and are hiding him in their barn.

Lia can’t imagine what possessed her to help a Farther, but she finds herself reluctantly nursing him back to health. And the more she learns about him, the more questions she has about her village, her family, and the people she thought she knew.

What I Thought

Let’s start with the good. Frost has a really interesting story. I like Ms. Ellison’s writing style, Lia’s character, and the world she lived in. I saw some of the twists coming, but some were genuinely surprising. I still have a lot of questions about exactly why the village is located in such a hostile environment as The Frost, but the groundwork was laid to get answers in future books.

And yes, there’s a bit of a love story in Frost. It was sweet and mildly necessary, and pretty much what you’d expect in this genre. I liked both Lia and her guy (I’m not going to say which guy, as the beginning sets up 3 potential candidates. Don’t worry though, it’s definitely not the dreaded love triangle). As with pretty much all YA love stories, I thought their feelings got too deep, too fast, without much foundation. But that’s probably just because I’m too far removed from being a teenager, so I have no real complaints.

The pacing in the first half of the book was great. I felt like the characters were set up well (some were a little under-developed, but then again, I’d have a hard time naming a book that doesn’t rhyme with Barry Trotter where all of the characters are well-developed). The world-building was good. A lot of potentially fascinating elements were introduced to the story: the Watchers, the Farthers, why the village was located in The Frost to begin with, the death of Lia’s parents, and the mysterious boy she blames for their death.

The main problem I had was in the second half. I felt like we kind of skipped most of the plot development and skipped straight to the grand finale. It felt rushed. I know I said I picked up the book because it was short, but a short book should still tell a complete story; it should just be a short story. Frost was an average-to-long story crammed into a short book.

It was like we jumped straight from the set-up to the conclusion, with no development. The characters of Ann, Cole and Adam all had significant contributions to the plot without much leading up to it, making their actions seem kind of out-of-the-blue.

In the first half of the book, Ms. Ellison does a great job with the “show, don’t tell” mantra that always gets thrown around writing circles. But in the second half, everything is “tell.” The big showdown at the end has absolutely nothing leading up to it, and the entire thing is explained by The Bad Guy doing some extensive monologuing, with no prompting whatsoever.

Also the ending has three — count ’em, three — dei ex machina (Yes, that is the plural for deus ex machina. Yes, I looked it up), back-to-back. I will name list them vaguely to avoid spoilers:

1) Extremely specific overheard conversation that prompts the events leading to the ending.

2) Reveal of the Bad Guy.

3) What happens to the Bad Guy.

It just seemed like there should be a better way to get to the ending without forcing it. I’m not a fan of unnecessary exposition and buildup, but this story needed more of both to really feel satisfying.

There had to be a more organic way for the same events to have taken place, but with Lia & Co. actually figuring things out on their own through subtle clues rather than having their next actions spelled out clearly by external forces. There had to be a better way to reveal who the bad guy was and what exactly he did, without just dropping him in for a point of a final confrontation. And there had to be something better to do with the character than what happened after the extensive monologuing.

It’s just too fast. Too much happens in too little time. Especially when the beginning seemed like it was really going to take the time to build up some steam. Instead it barely started simmering, then it exploded.

Frost is a good story. I’ll be interested in the next book in the series to see where things go. Ms. Ellison has a natural, engaging writing style that I like. I just hope that with the next book, she slows down her pacing a bit. I’d like to spend more time with these characters. Let them develop, grow, and learn. I think it would be neat.

Grade: B-

Content guide: Contains some mild violence.

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

So in all my blog hopping madness today [which has been SO much fun — I’m probably following a couple dozen new blogs now, and gained a nice handful of followers myself! Thanks, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read!] I came across a review for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children over on Movies In My Head. And that reminded me that I, too, read this book recently, and it is so good. And kind of creepy. And decidedly unique. And now I want to talk about it too.

What It’s About

Miss Peregrine’s is the story of Jacob, a teenage boy living a normal life, until the mysterious and horrific death of his grandfather sends him across the ocean, to a tiny island off the coast of Wales, to discover the truth of his grandfather’s past.

What he finds on the island only seeks to arouse his curiosity further: An orphanage secluded from the rest of the world. A tragic bombing that wiped it off the face of the earth. A town that refuses to talk about it.

As Jacob digs deeper into the tragic past of Miss Peregrine’s orphanage, more and more questions arise, until finally he makes a shocking discovery. Soon Jacob is caught up in an incredible — and peculiar — adventure he never even dreamed of.

Here, before I get to my thoughts, watch the book trailer. It’s probably the best book trailer I’ve seen. Period.:

What I Thought

[I am going to have to get into mild spoiler territory here. I’ve been pondering how to avoid it, and I just can’t. It’s alluded to very early in the book though, and I don’t think your enjoyment will be lessened knowing this in advance. Even so, my apologies.]

First off, this book is nothing like what I expected (I should mention that I checked it out from the library as an e-book, so I didn’t know that it’s typically classified — mis-classified, in my humble opinion — in the horror genre). I thought it was going to be a bittersweet story of a young boy digging into his grandfather’s tragic past, and learning a valuable lesson. I knew creepy vintage photos were incorporated, but I figured they’d be like a metaphor for the way his grandfather had tried to dress up what had happened to him, to make it all seem magical and mysterious instead of just sad and depressing.

Because I was thinking that “tragic past” meant something like “Holocaust survivor.” I was pretty sure monsters = Nazis.

But no. Monsters = freakin’ monsters.

This story is full of fantasy, magic, and unexpected twists and turns that totally blew my mind. I had no idea where it was going, and when I turned the last page, I found myself dumbly attempting to flip another non-existent page, and yelling, “that’s it?!

Needless to say, I sincerely hope Mr. Riggs goes forward with the sequel(s).

What makes Miss Peregrine’s even more interesting is the vintage photography that is incorporated into the story. Authentic (yes, they’re real!) and decidedly creepy photos are woven seamlessly into the narrative, adding a level of realism and creepiness that both grounds the story and enhances its impact.

It’s not without its flaws. It is a little slow to get moving. Jacob spends a good chunk of time on the island before anything really happens. But once it took off, I couldn’t put it down.

Keep in mind, I definitely think it’s mis-classified as horror. It’s much closer to YA/mid-grade fantasy. I think the cover misleads people (bad font choice, publisher). I don’t think the intent of the book is to scare the reader; I think it’s to enthrall and amaze. So there are a lot of people out there who are kind of peeved that this book “wasn’t scary enough.” I’m obviously not one of them. No, it’s not scary. It’s creepy (which can be attributed largely to the photos), but mostly it’s just a fantastical adventure story.

Grade: A

Content guide: Contains violence and some scenes of overall creepiness. Plus creepy photos.

Giveaways Galore!

No, I’m not doing a giveaway. I’m still a blogging baby. I have few fans and no money.

BUT!

There are lots of established and extremely generous bloggers who ARE hosting giveaways right now, and I have been gleefully bouncing around from blog to blog, entering tons of giveaways and twitterbombing my followers.

Sorry about that (but not if you win something. In that case, YOU’RE WELCOME).

Here’s some of the ones I’ve entered lately:

Lots of ARCs Giveaway from ImLovingBooks.com!

i’m loving books ARC Madness Giveaway

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Showers of Books Giveaway Hop

There are a TON of giveaways listed in that one!

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop

This includes links to dozens more no-strings-attached giveaways, from many other generous bloggers, that don’t involve “liking” on FB, posting on Twitter, or anything other than clicking the “enter” button.

Gotta Have YA Kindle Fire + $$ for books Giveaway

May the odds be ever in your favor! (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver is quickly climbing my list of “authors I trust.” She may not have many books under her belt yet (she is also the author of Delirium and Pandemonium – read my review of the latter here), but I love what I’ve read so far. She has an amazing talent for writing characters in such a way that I feel like I know them and understand them – even if I don’t agree with them. She tackles subject matter I wouldn’t normally be interested in, and makes me care.

Such is the case in her debut novel, Before I Fall.

The Plot

The story follows Sam, your typical popular, Plastics-esque high school villain. She has it all: good looks, charmed life, macho boyfriend, beautiful friends.

That is, until the night she dies in a fiery wreck.

Imagine her surprise when she wakes up the following day…only to find out it’s not the following day. It’s the same day. Again.

What follows is a week of Sam reliving (and sometimes re-dying) that same fateful Friday over and over again.

She goes through it the way I imagine most of us would. First she denies what is happening to her. Tries to pretend it was all a dream or a hallucination. But it quickly becomes clear that what she’s going through is very real. And once she figures that out, she struggles with how to move forward.

Should she approach each day with a carefree, “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow I’ll be dead” attitude? Should she try to right her past wrongs? Should she attempt to change the future?

As Sam goes through each day, her eyes are slowly opened to the realities of her life and the lives around her, and the truth behind her death.

My Thoughts

I’ll get it out of the way early: Before I Fall is Mean Girls meets Groundhog Day. Sam’s story is equal parts Cady Heron (post-Plastification) and Phil Connors (although she probably resembles Lindsay Lohan a bit more than Bill Murray).

But you know what? I love Mean Girls and Groundhog Day. And I loved Before I Fall. So who cares? A good story is a good story.

So, that said, what’s the fun in reading a book about a Mean Girl that lives the same horrible day over and over, and dies after most of them?

As I said before: Lauren Oliver has an amazing talent.

I’m guessing that unless you really are Regina George, you will hate Sam at the start of the novel. She’s shallow, she’s rude, she’s selfish, and she’s mean. She justifies all her actions to herself, but she’s not in any way likable. I spent most of the first few chapters wanting to shake some sense into her vapid, empty head.

However, the more I read, the more invested I was in Sam and her journey. She grew. She transformed. Sometimes I wished she would snap out of her Plastics mentality faster, but Ms. Oliver wrote her arc very naturally and organically. And even when I didn’t agree with her decisionsI understood them.

Yes, there were parts where it dragged slightly (the fact that those parts are few and far between is still a monumental achievement in a book that recounts the same day seven times). And while I found myself ultimately liking Sam and cheering her on, there were a few other characters that made me gag every time they entered the scene (Sam’s BFF, Lindsay, and hunky boyfriend, Rob, are two prime examples). I understand their necessity to the story, but man, were they ever annoying.

The biggest problem I had with the book was that even after Sam realizes the error of her ways, she never calls out her friends (especially Lindsay) on their incessant bullying of…well, just about everyone. On the one hand, I can see how Sam is still intimidated by Lindsay and afraid of upsetting her. On the other…I kind of just wanted her to grow a spine.

However, those annoyances were completely overshadowed by my investment in Sam’s story; my complete adoration of the character of Kent, the sensitive, socially awkward boy who’s had a crush on Sam ever since elementary school; and my fascination with the character of Juliet, a reclusive girl who Sam, Lindsay & Co. have been tormenting for years.

Before I Fall ended before I was ready, but it ended where it needed to end. The story was resolved the way it should be (and no, I’m not going to tell you if she lives or dies. You’ll have to find that out for yourself).

I found myself thinking about Sam and her story long after I put the book down. Her story is haunting, sweet, heartbreaking, and inspiring. I loved it.

Grade: A

Content Guide: Contains some violence, teenage drinking and drug use, bullying, minor sexual content and language.

Review: The Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer

Based on a vast amount of research (which consists mainly of mentally cataloging the Facebook and Twitter updates of my friends), I’ve determined that there is a definite line in the sand when it comes to readers (especially readers of YA and fantasy books):

“Do you like Twilight?”

Those on one side of the line view those on the other with disdain and derision. The other side of the line is jaded, cynical, pretentious, snobby.

Or the other side is immature, pedestrian, unsophisticated, Philistine.

I promise this is not a cop-out, but I fall pretty solidly on the line. I kind of love Twilight while kind of hating it. And here’s why.

What is Twilight?

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Twilight is an enormously popular YA series by Stephenie Meyer. There are four books in the series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.

It has also spawned an even more enormously successful move franchise starring KPattz (yes, I did just refer to them as KPattz. Whatcha gonna do about it?).

I’m going to talk about the series as a whole, because I highly doubt I’ll ever feel motivated to review each book on its own. Besides, odds are if you’re going to read one, you’re going to read them all. Obviously, spoilers ahead.

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes summary of Twilight: It is the story of a teenage girl named Bella Swan. Bella meets a mysterious boy at school named Edward Cullen. Edward acts really weird around Bella — kind of like he can’t stand to be anywhere near her — which turns out to be because he is a vampire, she smells unspeakably delicious, and therefore he can’t stand to be anywhere near her.

Before too long, she gets him to spill the beans about his vampire-ness, and they fall in love despite her mouth-watering aroma.

Bella also gets chummy with Edward’s vampire “family,” some of whom have special powers.

Oh, and Edward is also telepathic.

Edward and Bella have a tumultuous courtship, made even more complicated by the fact that Bella’s good friend Jacob is also in love with Bella.

Oh, and Jacob is a werewolf. Werewolves hate vampires. And vice versa.

[Aside: Although Twilight has an irrefutable love triangle, am I the only one who never understood the Team Edward, Team Jacob nonsense? Wasn’t it 100% obvious and inevitable that Bella never even remotely considered choosing Jacob over Edward? Didn’t New Moon make that abundantly clear?]

Assorted and increasingly threatening scenarios play out as Edward and Jacob battle (mostly figuratively, sometimes literally) for Bella’s heart. Friendships are tested. Villains rise and fall.

It’s all very exciting, and they all live [er…more or less] happily ever after.

Why I Love Twilight

I’ll admit it. Twilight is a highly addictive series. I devoured all four books in as many days. I was completely swept up in it. I keep trying to put my finger on exactly what swept me up, and here’s the best way I can explain it.

Twilight is kind of like a Twinkie. On the one hand, there’s not a lot of substance to it, there’s no real benefits to consuming it, you really shouldn’t think too hard about what’s in it, and most people are kind of embarrassed to admit they like it. And yet, it’s inexplicably delicious. And after consuming one, you kind of feel like the damage has been done, so you may as well go ahead and have another.

I really enjoyed Twilight, and I have a hard time explaining why. It is inexplicably delicious. It keeps me coming back for more. And there is something in me — the intangible, subconscious, reflexive part — that can’t be shaken from this stance, no matter what the logical, intellectual part of me thinks. Which brings me to…..

Why I Hate Twilight

First of all, none of the main characters in Twilight are all that sympathetic. Bella is the worst — she’s co-dependent, self-destructive, whiny, self-loathing, clingy, selfish, and irresponsible. Considering that the books are all written from her perspective (with the brief exception of a few chapters in Breaking Dawn), this can be more than a little frustrating.

Edward and Jacob are slightly more tolerable, but I honestly couldn’t figure out what exactly Bella saw in Edward (other than his breathtaking beauty – more on that later). He seemed kind of stiff and dull, not to mention overbearing. And Jacob, while definitely more fun, still had moments where he was a weird blend of macho and emo, neither of which are qualities I find all that attractive.

All the supporting characters – the Cullens, Bella’s friends at school, Bella’s father – are much more likable. Or at least more entertaining.

Secondly, the writing is abysmal. I’m speaking solely in a technical sense right now, as obviously there’s something about the writing that is also amazing, since it’s kept millions of people riveted through four long-ish books. But technically, it’s appalling. The most glaring fault is Ms. Meyer’s tendency to use the same descriptors over…and over….and over.

I found myself physically throttling the book every time I read (again) that Edward’s skin “sparkled like diamonds.”

Speaking of which, Bella’s constant need to describe every facet of Edward’s gorgeousness got really old, really fast. We get it. He’s pretty. He’s super-pretty. Now let’s move on please. Surely there’s another reason you’re hopelessly in love with him beyond the fact that he’s pretty. Yes? No?

Lastly (and I realize this is probably not a turn-off for most of the reading audience), Twilight vampires are just too…nice. They don’t burst into flame in the sun — nope, they just get even prettier with their sparkly skin. They can even stroll around outside, perfectly unharmed and unsparkly, on a cloudy day! (Although I have to say, I think sparkly vampires are marginally better than vampires who avoid bursting into flame by wearing copious amounts of sunblock).

Once you let vampires go play in the sunlight, it kind of ruins a lot of what makes them spooky. They don’t have to hide out in underground crypts. No, they can live in fabulous mountaintop mansions. They can hold jobs, go to school, fall in love, get married. They don’t have to hunt at night. They might do it anyway because it is easier, but it’s not imperative.

And unless you think colored contacts are frightening, they don’t even look scary. Nope. They look like this [Disclaimer: I realize I’m referring to the film and not the actual book. But this is pretty much how they’re described in the actual book, so I think it’s valid]:

She’s one of the scariest ones!

Which is not as scary as this:

or this:

Ah, Spike. You’ll always be my favorite.

or even this:

Their posh-ness and refinement made them creepy. Plus, their activities and amusements were WAY more freaky than even the baddest baddies in Twilight.

The Verdict

I honestly don’t know if I can recommend Twilight to you. Can you overlook some writing faux pas, a good amount of cheese, and an infuriating main character, as long as the story’s entertaining? Are you a hopeless romantic? Do you like your monsters a little soft around the edges? Then you’d probably like (or even love) Twilight. [Full disclosure: If I had to answer the above questions about myself, my answers would be maybe, mostly, and no. And I still liked it.]

Do you consider yourself a literature snob? Does it frustrate you beyond words when an author uses the same adjective to describe the same thing multiple times? Do you tend to turn your nose up at things that would appeal to 14-year-old girls across the globe? Then Twilight is most likely not for you.

I apologize that I just wrote a fairly long review, only to come down on the side of “I can’t pick a side.” But that’s pretty much where I stand. Some days, I love Twilight. It makes me happy and giddy inside. Other days, I hate it. It drives me nuts. It makes me want to throw things (and mail Stephenie Meyer a thesaurus). But overall, I think I love it more than I hate it.

Ms. Meyer may not be a great writer (at least not in her first venture), but she is a great storyteller. She got me to care about characters I didn’t even like. She kept my attention through an entire book dedicated to moping. And she even managed to make me not too upset when I was promised an epic battle and was instead given an epic staring contest. I honestly can’t think of another author who got me so heavily invested in her storytelling that I could overlook all my (many) problems with the writing, the characters, and the essence of the story itself.

It’s kind of perplexing.

Grade: B

Content guide: contains some violence, mild sexual content, some dark themes concerning suicide and mortality, and some vampires who actually DO kill people.

Review: Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies is yet another one of those series I started without any idea of the plot (I have got to stop doing that. It’s really going to backfire on me someday). All I knew was that it’s yet another YA dystopian. I know, I know, the genre is flooded with mediocrity right now, but before you immediately tune out, let me just throw this out there: this one is actually good.

PLOT:

Uglies follows Tally Youngblood, a 15-year-old girl living in a futuristic society that has decided that the main thing wrong with the world is that attractive people have unfair advantages over the unattractive. The solution? Everyone undergoes cosmetic surgery on their 16th birthday, modifying all their facial and physical features to fit a common standard of perfect beauty.

Once the procedure is complete, these former “Uglies” are now allowed to live in beautiful cities with the “Pretties,” where their every need is catered to via a hole in the wall (think replicators on Star Trek: TNG), and their only concern is what to wear to the next fabulous party.

Tally is eagerly awaiting her operation, passing her time with harmless pranks on the Pretties, until she meets Shay. Shay is also 15, and therefore also an Ugly. As a matter of fact, she and Tally share the same birthday, which means they will have their procedures at the same time.

The difference is that Shay doesn’t want the procedure. And after unsuccessfully trying to convince Tally to run away with her, Shay disappears. All she leaves behind is a set of cryptic instructions, in case Tally wants to join her.

While Tally is concerned for Shay, she doesn’t fluctuate in her desire to become a Pretty. She hopes Shay got what she wanted. But soon, Tally will get what she wants too.

However, on the day of Tally’s procedure, she is presented with an awful choice: go find Shay, and the rebels she has run away with, or stay Ugly forever.

Thus begins Tally’s journey to the Smoke, the secret rebel hideout that Shay has fled to. All Tally wants is to put this all behind her and become Pretty. Until she finds the Smoke, and starts to question everything she ever believed.

MY THOUGHTS:

I’ll admit, I was a little wary about starting a series that revolves around being pretty. I mean seriously, how much more superficial can you get? I was prepared to be super-annoyed with the shallowness of it all.

But once I started reading, I found myself completely absorbed in Tally’s world. Mr. Westerfeld actually made me understand how Tally would want nothing more in life than to become Pretty, and managed to do it without making me hate her. No small task.

There were a few things I could nitpick about the plot. The endless hoverboarding, for example (I couldn’t help but think that Mr. Westerfeld may have just wanted an excuse to stretch this scene out for an entire book…or four).

Also, I had a little bit of a hard time figuring out how anything actually got accomplished in this world. What I surmised was that the inhabitants of Uglyville go to school, then turn 16 and party hearty for a few years until they hit “Middle Pretty” age and actually start contributing something to society. Not that I could imagine any of them actually wanting to contribute, since it sounds like the Pretty lifestyle was the epitome of luxury and indulgence. Maybe you or I would get tired of living like that, but the Pretties don’t seem to mind in the least.

Is a workforce consisting entirely of middle-aged ex-partiers (as it’s implied that the elderly, or “Crumblies” — ouch — also do not work) enough to keep this advanced society running smoothly? Maybe not in the world you and I live in. In the world of Uglies, though, it works.

When it comes to YA fiction — or any fiction, for that matter — I can almost always poke holes in the logic of its world. The question I have to ask myself is, “Did I care?” If the answer is yes, it pulls me out of the story and diminishes my enjoyment of the book.

With Uglies, the answer was no. I didn’t care that not everything made sense. What I cared about was Tally. Was she a perfect character? Heck no. She drove me nuts at times (this is also one of the main downfalls of reading YA lit, period. The protagonists are always teenagers. I am not). But she was fun to read about, her journey was exciting, and I couldn’t put the book down until I knew what happened to her.

Grade: B+

Content guide: contains some mild violence.

Uglies has three sequels: Pretties, Specials, and Extras. I recommend the whole series.