Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Review: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: Every Other Day
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre(s): Paranormal/Fantasy
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 329 (Hardcover)
Perspective: First Person (female)

Summary: Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

Review: I've heard of Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I've just never read her. If this book is any indication, that was obviously a mistake on my part. Every Other Day was amazing. Simply, flat out, amazing.

I don't typically like books where there are all paranormal/fantasy creatures together - faeries and witches and vampires and werewolves all at the same time are just a little bit too much for me - but in this book, it made it almost better than if it was just one species. Of course, it incorporated many creatures I hadn't seen used in an "every paranormal species" book, and others that have been used way too much that weren't even mentioned in here. The many different species added mystery and suspense as to what some creatures were, or what they would face next.

Kali and her voice in this novel made for an extremely enjoyable read. Kali was absolutely kick butt, and I can't think of another character that could rival her for the title of Best Badass. Maybe Tris, from the Divergent trilogy, but that's it. And that, my friends, is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Her voice was funny, interesting, and didn't let the reader go for one moment. If I hadn't had the annoying thing called "life" getting in the way, I would have happily devoured it in one sitting, and would still have yearned for more.

The supporting characters were just as interesting and well-written as Kali. They each had unique personalities and qualities and quirks that made them believable and enjoyable. I laughed every time Skyler said "We can call up [brother's name] for that!" or drew in a quiet breath every time Zev spoke.

Another thing was, I felt this book. I grew concerned every time one of Kali's friends was in danger, I shared Kali's sense of victory whenever she won a fight. I shared the character's sadness when one of their friends - and an important, wonderful character - died. And that is how, in my opinion at least, you separate the great from the best.

Why did this have to be a stand-alone?




"That's what life does. It knocks you down and it breaks you and you either get back up or you don't... you let the bad things win, or you don't." - Page 236

"Sometimes there aren't any good choices. Sometimes making the right one is hard." - Page 266

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson

Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre(s): Realistic Fiction, Romance, Hard Topics
Age Level: YA
 Page Count: 344
Perspective: First Person (female)
Summary: Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

Review: This book was a good realistic fiction book. It wasn't anything major, but it was a good summer read (a little too late for that, but...), the type of thing that's fun to read by the pool or hanging out on a lazy day.

The sadness and death part of this book was better written than other books I've read, and I was glad to not have to suffer through cliches. Roger's situation was different than any other book I've read, and it was a good compliment to Amy's own pain and sadness, though it wasn't so heavy it dragged the book down into a pity party. And while it wasn't so well-written that I felt empathy for the characters, I did feel sympathy, which is more than some books have managed.

On the other side of things, this book also managed lighthearted- and funniness, in the situations Amy and Roger found themselves in, and the conversations they had as well. I was laughing and smiling just as much as I was frowning in sadness, and few books have managed that.

A good realistic fiction book I would definitely recommend!




"Someone had etched into [the diner table] 'Ryan loves Megan always'... I wondered how anyone could have been so sure about a concept so tenuous and impossible as always that they'd be willing to carve it into a tabletop." - Page 199


"You've got to have pride in your home. You are where you're from. Otherwise, you're always going to be lost." - Page 174


"I understood in a flash why, on the Greyhound sign, Arrivals and Departures were right next to each other. Because sometimes, like in that moment, they can mean exactly the same thing." - Page 321


"Someone just told me that you can't let things stop you because you're afraid." - Page 249
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