Review: Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. 

Tavia immediately searches for answers, desperate to determine why she feels so drawn to a boy she hardly knows. But when Tavia discovers that the aunt and uncle who took her in after her parents’ death may have actually been responsible for the plane crash that killed them–and that she may have been the true intended victim–she flees for the safety of Camden, Maine, where the boy she sees in her visions instructs her to go.

Now, Tavia is on the run with no one to trust. No one, that is, except for her best friend and longtime crush, Benson.

Tavia feels torn between the boy who mysteriously comes to her at night and the boy who has been by her side every step of the way. But what Tavia doesn’t know is that the world is literally falling apart and that to save it she will have to unite with the boy in her visions. Only problem? To do so would mean rejecting Benson’s love. And that’s the one thing Tavia Michaels swore she’d never do.

Thank you Razorbill for letting me on the tour!
Review

It is quite hard for me to write this review. I feel like Idon’t really have much to say. To be honest I was skeptical about this book. I was immediately repulsed by the romance. Sure, I love century old conspiracy, but I don’t like love triangles. But to mysurprise, the love triangle in this book wasn’t bad. Tavia didn’t spend half of the book debating Quinn or Benson; she was pretty loyal to one guy. She did consider the other guy but not to the point of hair-pulling amount.
As for the plot, it soundedboring and typical from the book flap. I was like “oh no the aunt and uncle mystery is going to be destroyed by her running away with her longtime crush.” But I was wrong. The adventure Tavia and Benson had was quite awesome. It was fast, suspenseful, and exhilarating. It did however took about half of the book to set up everything and for the pace to increase.
One big reason why I didn’t felt this book was not the best was because of the world building and the story set up. It was lacking. It didn’t felt anything about it. Aprilynne mentioned that Tavia was from a small, old, characteristic town but I didn’t sense that. I didn’t know what to picture because the story didnn’t provide me with anything to help me imagine it. I kept on having to remind myself “oh right, this is an old town, I better picture it that way.” I guess what I am asking is more descriptions so the book could “drag” me inside.

Now for Tavia. I didn’t care for her in the begginning because she didn’t have much of a personality. But when she ran away with Benson, I felt like “yeah! There’s my tough cookie!” I started to like her. She definitely was not your BAMF though. She cried a lot, paniced lot, and (not really whine) but kind of reminded me of a whimpering puppy – this is mainly due to the hotel scene where she was cold. Oh yeah, she and Benson like to make out. I kind of just skimmed through those part. They were cheesy.

Benson was cute (supposedly in a nerdy, library boy way). Personally I think Aprilynne kind of missed the mark. I didn’t feel that Benson was a cute, nerdy boy – nothing he did or said made me felt that way. Aprilynne did tried, Benson found stuff in the library but really??? Was that suppose to make me feel a strong emotion toward it? That all said, Benson was a great guy. He was protective, supportive, and effective. If you can choose one guy to help you run away, Benson is a pretty safe bet. I also enjoyed his food nicknames for Tavia: Maple Bar, Baklava etc. It kind of reminded me of Morgan and Garcia’s relationship on Criminal Minds.

Now for Quinn. Quinn was *sigh* hard to say. (Incoming spoiler)…to be honest, he wasn’t in this book much. What I got out of him was the he was very mechanic and odd (which was exactly what he supposed to be, so good job Aprilynne). He was attractive though.
He’s beautiful in the moonlight, a dark, snow-spotted coat wrapping him from his neck to his ankles, his face soft and almost expressionless.” (pg 170 – from ARC)

Overall I feel pretty neutral about this book. There weren’t any “OMG THIS BOOK IS LIKE HOLY GOD OFJAOFJAEFIJR” but also there weren’t “THIS BOOK SUCCKKKSS!!” It was like “oh, that’s cool. I didn’t thought of that.” If you are looking for a supernatural with secret organizations book, give it a try. It kind of gave me the same feelings I had while reading the Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong. But I do have to say the Darkest Powers trilogy was a bit more intense.
To sum it all up in two sentences? This book didn’t provoke strong emotions from me but the mystery and the adventure propelled me to the end. I will likely read the next installment.

Review: Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. 

Tavia immediately searches for answers, desperate to determine why she feels so drawn to a boy she hardly knows. But when Tavia discovers that the aunt and uncle who took her in after her parents' death may have actually been responsible for the plane crash that killed them–and that she may have been the true intended victim–she flees for the safety of Camden, Maine, where the boy she sees in her visions instructs her to go.

Now, Tavia is on the run with no one to trust. No one, that is, except for her best friend and longtime crush, Benson.

Tavia feels torn between the boy who mysteriously comes to her at night and the boy who has been by her side every step of the way. But what Tavia doesn't know is that the world is literally falling apart and that to save it she will have to unite with the boy in her visions. Only problem? To do so would mean rejecting Benson's love. And that's the one thing Tavia Michaels swore she'd never do.

Thank you Razorbill for letting me on the tour!
Review

It is quite hard for me to write this review. I feel like Idon't really have much to say. To be honest I was skeptical about this book. I was immediately repulsed by the romance. Sure, I love century old conspiracy, but I don't like love triangles. But to mysurprise, the love triangle in this book wasn't bad. Tavia didn't spend half of the book debating Quinn or Benson; she was pretty loyal to one guy. She did consider the other guy but not to the point of hair-pulling amount.
As for the plot, it soundedboring and typical from the book flap. I was like "oh no the aunt and uncle mystery is going to be destroyed by her running away with her longtime crush." But I was wrong. The adventure Tavia and Benson had was quite awesome. It was fast, suspenseful, and exhilarating. It did however took about half of the book to set up everything and for the pace to increase.

Read more »

Review: PODs by Michelle Pickett

Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it’s in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it’s a balm for the broken soul. 

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That’s the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating… monsters. 

Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life–a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.


Review
I had a hard time deciding the rating for this book and I’ll explain why.

The plot of the book was simple and 1 dimensional. There weren’t layers of intricate plotting. Michelle didn’t tried to break your heart with feels or connections. You know how sometimes stories linked together and pieces of the book fitted when the story began to conclude? Yeah, those were what I called connections. This book didn’t offer me that but that doesn’t mean it was a total negative thing. By having a 1 dimensional plot, the story moved fast which kept my attention. Imagine if it was a simple plot that was draggy? Phew, this book wasn’t, in fact I loved how the book was such a breezy read. What the book lacked in intricacy, it gained in pace. And having said how the plot was simple, it wasn’t a bad plot. The plot of the book was a great one! Because of the fast pace, the events didn’t dwell and not did it got dull. It was like turning over new leaves in a short period of time, it had excitement in it.
But not only did the plot lacked connectivity, the characters did as well. I also didn’t form any emotional attachments to them as well. It felt as if they were cardboards and if one person died, I wouldn’t care and either would the other charactersYou would think that a group of teens stuck in a POD for a long time equalled character development, but nope. The conversations were……..eek! It felt amateur as if horrible actors were delivering the lines. And adding romance into the pot didn’t made this any better. Sure Eva and David were in love but they didn’t felt like it. There were a lot of “I love you” and lots of kissing but I didn’t feel their love for each other. I just dislike apocalyptic romance. Sorry just don’t care. Every single book I read disappointed me, this book was no better. The romance was so forced and cliche. Boo!


“David”

“Yeah?”
“Stay” (pg 82)
“…smells as good and looks as yummy as David….” (66) <—Ewwww -____-
COMMENCE PUKE!
 

The writing style when Eva was in the POD was almost like a diary. There were short sections (which made for easy reading) that broke within a chapter. While in the Compound, it was brief. Is this what it feels like to not have roots? To move around so often that your surroundings don’t even link to you?

 
Overall, the writing for this book was sub-par. You know how sometimes a book can make you feel like you’ve been absorbed by it? This one didn’t do that. It just like a slab of concrete on my face. It was, a fast, simple read but really nothing more. It felt liked a 5 year old telling me a story: cute but lacks maturity and substance. The plot of the book was good but there’s definitely room to grow. I saw potential, a little better execution would make this book feel more satisfying.
 
If I had to right one pro and one con....
Pro:
Fast pace (which translated to a decent plot).

Con:
Lacked intricacy, connections and character developments.

In two sentences, this book was good enough that I didn't dislike it but I also didn't like it. It didn't draw out any particular emotion in me.

Notes I written during my reading & stuff that I am too lazy to write in paragraph form for:
  •  Jai Li not being able to speak English…I call bullshit (58)
  • · “I watched in awe as her stomach rippled with the baby’s movements” (60) REALLY??? O____O
  • · Katie, I liked her instantly: sassy, bitchy, fiery little kid. She was in 8th grade, the “I think I’m better than all of you” stage.
  • · WHAT IS TIFF PAINTING WITH??!! Pregnant and paint fume, NO! (69)
  • · When the mail came I’m like “TYRA MAILLLLL!!” 😛 (73-74)
  • · Eva was very in control to deliver the baby, very impressive.
  • · What’s with Eva and smelling??? Why does she keep on describing what David smelled like.
  • · I imagined the Compound to look like Terra Nova, with the houses and fences etc
  • · “The firelight revealed more men like the one who’d barged into my tent. Tall and broad – easily twice the size of a normal man – they chased the people of the camp, scattering supplies and tearing down the shelters.” (205) T-T-TITAN???

Review: PODs by Michelle Pickett

Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul. 

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating… monsters. 

Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life–a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.


Review
I had a hard time deciding the rating for this book and I'll explain why.

The plot of the book was simple and 1 dimensional. There weren't layers of intricate plotting. Michelle didn't tried to break your heart with feels or connections. You know how sometimes stories linked together and pieces of the book fitted when the story began to conclude? Yeah, those were what I called connections. This book didn't offer me that but that doesn't mean it was a total negative thing. By having a 1 dimensional plot, the story moved fast which kept my attention. Imagine if it was a simple plot that was draggy? Phew, this book wasn't, in fact I loved how the book was such a breezy read. What the book lacked in intricacy, it gained in pace. And having said how the plot was simple, it wasn't a bad plot. The plot of the book was a great one! Because of the fast pace, the events didn't dwell and not did it got dull. It was like turning over new leaves in a short period of time, it had excitement in it.
But not only did the plot lacked connectivity, the characters did as well. I also didn't form any emotional attachments to them as well. It felt as if they were cardboards and if one person died, I wouldn't care and either would the other charactersYou would think that a group of teens stuck in a POD for a long time equalled character development, but nope. The conversations were……..eek! It felt amateur as if horrible actors were delivering the lines. And adding romance into the pot didn't made this any better. Sure Eva and David were in love but they didn't felt like it. There were a lot of "I love you" and lots of kissing but I didn't feel their love for each other. I just dislike apocalyptic romance. Sorry just don't care. Every single book I read disappointed me, this book was no better. The romance was so forced and cliche. Boo!

Read more »

Interview ♥ Giveaway with Sheenah Freitas, Author of the Zincian Legend Series

Genre: YA fantasyRelease Date: March 13, 2012
Kaia disappeared for five years. Now she’s back and her planet is on the brink of war.
The new “Numbers” program, created by the Tueors’ leader, tracks and isolates demigods. Kaia’s friend, Catrina, refuses to take part, and that makes her the most dangerous Number of all.
It’s Kaia’s duty to gather and protect the treasures of the gods. But neither the treasures nor Catrina are what they appear to be.
As the day a dire prophesy foresees draws near, will Kaia reverse the gears of fate, or will everything she’s ever loved be burned away by the flames of war?



First and foremost  I am veryyyy happy to have Sheenah, who is a super awesome friend and author here on FireStarBooks today. I had a blast!

INTERVIEW TIME!!

Who is your favorite author and is you writing style similar to theirs? 
J.K. Rowling~! I just want to visit Hogwarts forever. I seriously doubt my writing style is similar to hers, but if anyone ever compared my work to hers, I would die happy and demand that quote be engraved on my tombstone.

When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
I think I give too much thought into the meaning of names. I’m constantly pouring through name meaning websites and books and trying to figure out if it’s a good match or not. And then there are the rare occasions where I just pick a random and just go with it.

How do you get started with writing a story (as in, how do you start developing the story, how do you get inspired for it)?
I think I tackle writing a book like animators tackle making a movie. Or at least, that’s how it feels sometimes. I have my outline and then I start drafting. Sometime during the draft phase, I make storyboards of scenes complete with sketches. To see how my characters look and the blocking involved visually helps me make a scene richer (or at least I hope it does).

What are your current projects? 
I’m currently working on the last book in my trilogy. I usually work on one novel project at a time, however, an opportunity came along where I’m also working on an Alice in Wonderlandproject with one of my author buddies. So balancing the two projects has been interesting, to say the least.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 
I think it was just a natural evolution of my love of reading. I just started writing something one day with really no reason behind it, but just because I wanted to.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
Here’s a scene I wrote for the Alice in Wonderlandproject. As a little preface about it, something drastic happened (as they always do) and Alice (her actual name is Arisa) has just discovered that her best friend and crush is on the verge of death after he saved her. And Dinah is the equivalent of the Cheshire cat:
“Cheng?” she whispered.
He slowly opened one eye and tried to move. An agonized groan passed his lips.
“Don’t move yet,” Alice said. “Help is coming.”
“Arisa,” he whispered as he focused on her face.
She traced her finger along his palm, careful not to touch the sides of his hand. “Don’t talk,” Alice said. “Dinah, go tell them!”
The cat nodded and disappeared.
“I’m so sorry, Cheng.”
He coughed. “Everything hurts. Where . . . where’s my father?”
“I’m sure he’s—” She turned toward the bait shop, but it was gone. There was nothing but broken glass and splinters where the building once stood. Her bottom lip quivered.
“He’s what?” Cheng attempted to look up but sucked in a sharp intake of air and let his head fall back.
“Don’t! You have to save your energy. As soon as they come for you, I’ll look for him,” she promised. Tears began rolling down her cheeks.
“Stop that,” Cheng said. He coughed. “Never let the bullies see you cry.” He forced himself to reach up to brush away a tear.
In that moment, Alice was able to see just how bad his condition was. His entire back side was scorched, black, and peeling. Blood seeped from the fissures in his skin. Alice felt her soul twisting inside her body. She knew she needed to be strong for his sake, but the tears kept coming. He had always been the one who knew how to comfort her when she had been hurt by the snide remarks of others who never understood her imagination. Young and old alike just couldn’t believe that there was a world where buildings touched the sky and nobody could talk to plants; whether or not he believed her, she didn’t know nor would she ever know. Even though he had received a bloody nose on more than occasion, he had never allowed anyone to label her as crazy.
“Arisa, come closer,” Cheng wheezed. “I . . . I have something . . . to tell you.”
She wiped away her tears and knelt closer to his face. His voice was getting weaker, but she could do nothing except stay by his side. She placed her palm against his.
“You have to . . . find that place you’re always . . . talking about.”
“I’m staying right here with you—always.”
“I’ve always wanted—” Cheng winced “—to go there with you.”
“We still can! Just hold on!”
“Come closer. Please.”
She knelt down until their noses touched. He leaned up ever so slightly and kissed her. Her eyes grew wide, but she didn’t dare pull away. His lips were cool, but comforting; they felt natural against hers. She leaned into him, allowing him to rest his head back down. After a moment, she pulled away a fraction.
Cheng gave a small grin. “I’ve always wanted to do that my ‘Noble Sand.’ We’ll see each other . . . in the next life. Or maybe that world of yours.”
She shook her head. “You can’t leave me!”
He gave another shallow breath. “I love . . . you . . . Ali—”
His hand dropped away from hers as his eyes became vacant.
“Cheng?” Alice yelled. “Cheng!” She placed her ear near his mouth but couldn’t hear him breathe. “Cheng!” She grabbed his shoulder and shook him. “CHENG!”
She felt fur touch her cheek.
“Alice,” Dinah said gently, “he’s gone.”
She stopped and looked down at the body. “He can’t be gone! He said . . . He said he loved me,” she whimpered.
“He’s always loved you.”

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
Starting it. I thought that writing a first book was hard until I tackled the sequel and then learned that sequels are harder than the first one. There was a lot of decision making. How should I start it? How much should I recap? Does any of the ideas that I have right now even make sense with the first book?!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 
I just adore my readers. Like seriously, they’re just the greatest thing ever. I hope that I’ve entertained them and I hope that they’ll continue to read the stories I’ve written for them.

Fun Questions: 😛
Who is your OTP (from any fandom)?
One OTP that I have that is canon: Usagi and Mamoru from Sailor Moon
One OTP that is NOT canon: Meiling and Syaoran from Cardcaptor Sakura
I have many, many OTPs. :3

Favourite TV show right now?
Once Upon A Time. 😀

3. Who is Kuroko Tetsuya?
4. Favourite character from KnB?
5. When was Kuroko born?
6. At what episode (include exact time) did Kuroko first appeared on KnB?
Note: I, Ashley, was being a troll ;P

One thing that you can’t live without?
Anime! I need it in my life!

If the cosplay god can grant you a wish, what will that one wish be? 😛
Wigs. I know nothing about wigs, so I’ve never worn them. I need the cosplay god to like give me an assortment of fantastic wigs with care instructions.

Will you watch Cicak man with me???
Please. We’ll have a party at my house and invite Lynn. 😀



Thank you Sheenah for answering all the questions, even if some were very stupid xD!


About the Author
A neek at heart, Sheenah Freitas has a love for the whimsical and magical. She looks to animated Disney movies and Studio Ghibli films for inspiration because of the innovative twists on fairytales, strong story structures, and character studies. When not writing, you might find her in a forest where she’s yet to find any enchanted castles.



Follow the rest of blog tour here.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview ♥ Giveaway with Sheenah Freitas, Author of the Zincian Legend Series

Genre: YA fantasyRelease Date: March 13, 2012
Kaia disappeared for five years. Now she's back and her planet is on the brink of war.
The new "Numbers" program, created by the Tueors' leader, tracks and isolates demigods. Kaia's friend, Catrina, refuses to take part, and that makes her the most dangerous Number of all.
It's Kaia's duty to gather and protect the treasures of the gods. But neither the treasures nor Catrina are what they appear to be.
As the day a dire prophesy foresees draws near, will Kaia reverse the gears of fate, or will everything she's ever loved be burned away by the flames of war?



First and foremost  I am veryyyy happy to have Sheenah, who is a super awesome friend and author here on FireStarBooks today. I had a blast!

INTERVIEW TIME!!

Who is your favorite author and is you writing style similar to theirs? 
J.K. Rowling~! I just want to visit Hogwarts forever. I seriously doubt my writing style is similar to hers, but if anyone ever compared my work to hers, I would die happy and demand that quote be engraved on my tombstone.

When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
I think I give too much thought into the meaning of names. I’m constantly pouring through name meaning websites and books and trying to figure out if it’s a good match or not. And then there are the rare occasions where I just pick a random and just go with it.

How do you get started with writing a story (as in, how do you start developing the story, how do you get inspired for it)?
I think I tackle writing a book like animators tackle making a movie. Or at least, that’s how it feels sometimes. I have my outline and then I start drafting. Sometime during the draft phase, I make storyboards of scenes complete with sketches. To see how my characters look and the blocking involved visually helps me make a scene richer (or at least I hope it does).

What are your current projects? 
I’m currently working on the last book in my trilogy. I usually work on one novel project at a time, however, an opportunity came along where I’m also working on an Alice in Wonderlandproject with one of my author buddies. So balancing the two projects has been interesting, to say the least.

Read more »

Review: SYLO by D.J. MacHale

Does Tucker Pierce have what it takes to be a hero when the U.S. military quarantines his island?

Fourteen-year-old Tucker Pierce prefers to fly under the radar. He’s used to navigating around summer tourists in his hometown on idyllic Pemberwick Island, Maine. He’s content to sit on the sidelines as a backup player on the high school football team. And though his best friend Quinn tells him to “go for it,” he’s too chicken to ask Tori Sleeper on a date. There’s always tomorrow, he figures. Then Pemberwick Island is invaded by a mysterious branch of the U.S. military called SYLO. And sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option for Tucker, because tomorrow may never come. 

It’s up to Tucker, Quinn, and Tori to uncover the truth about the singing aircraft that appears only at night—and the stranger named Feit who’s pushing a red crystal he calls the Ruby that brings unique powers to all who take it. Tucker and his friends must rescue not just Pemberwick Island, but the fate of the world—and all before tomorrow is too late.  

#1 New York Times bestselling author D.J. MacHale brings his brilliant plotting and breathless pacing to SYLO, the first in this ultimate end-of-the-world adventure trilogy.

Review

There are many words I could use to describe SYLO. I could say it was thrilling, tense, and explosive, but those would merely be good words. The best words I thought SYLO demonstrated were: “as refreshing as an ocean breeze.” I am not joking. Those words were taken right out of the notes I took while I was reading the book. It is a bit of an odd description, if you were to compare it to the previous three words. Sure, the book had me holding my breaths and clenching my fist, but I’m going to tell you why it was also my perfect “Beach Read.”

Firstly, in my honest opinion, I think MacHale nailed the setting for this story. This is sometimes not done very well in YA or MG because people are more focused on the plot or the characters. But the atmosphere established by the author is so important in helping readers experience the story and I am so pleased that D.J. delivered.
The setting of this book, if you don’t already know is fictional Pemberwick Island in Maine. I don’t know much about Maine, but I am fortunate enough to know about tiny islands. In my grade 12 year, my school’s science department once again ran their one-week-trip to the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. During our stay, we worked hard and we played hard. One of the places we visited really helped me establish what Pemberwick Island really looked and felt like. I will link this review to an album from out trip right here. A special thanks to all of the people who contributed to this album; not all of these pictures are my own.

This reminded me of the Patricia 

What’s for dinner?
This could be the Sleeper’s house
The whales welcome you to New Brunswick!

In case anyone is interested to learn how lobsters are caught, here is Rick Mercer’s attempt:

Now that we’ve discussed atmosphere, let’s move on to the second thing you need to have in a good novel: plot. This story can be best compared to Virals by Kathy Reichs meets the TV show Haven. It’s part-mystery and part-sci-fi, which I think rivals the good ol’ PB & J. The plot had enough twist and turns that I was beginning to feel seasick (in a good way). Just when you think the story was headed on way, a wave comes to knock you in the opposite direction. But usually, stories start off well, but the tricky part to write when you’re writing a series is the ending. Authors love to taunt you with gut-wrenching cliffhangers, so you feel compelled to read on. And most of the times, you hate them for it. MacHale was able to end it at a place that had enough resolution to the story, that almost gives the reader a sense of an ending, but left enough unanswered questions for readers to stay around. It’s the desire to read on, without the urge to murder the author. Thank you for that, Mr. MacHale. My heart needed a break.

Lastly, on our tour of How to Write a Good Novel, the pawns characters. These are the things I enjoy about them:

– Tucker, our protagonist, is not a “I-Can-Do-Everything” type of main character.
– His shyness is believable, unlike many YA books where the main character is the quite, awkward girl (or boy) that no one should fall for, but somehow always does.
– Or, is he the full-of-attitude, “strong” character that we encourage female characters to be. (Please see my review of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey for reasons why I despise characters like these.)
– It’s refreshing to read about a male perspective where his main objective is to act silly and boyish. Many time, in YA, the boys are either super mysterious and sexy or is the funny, goofy, comic-relief. I like how Tucker was truly the “student you would forget you ever taught” because he appeared ordinary.

For once the main character’s best friend was the “Entrée.” Quinn is smart, funny, brave and should have gotten the girl. I really liked the change in dynamic.

– Tori Sleeper was precisely the female character I want to read more in YA. She has physical strength and mental power. Her brain runs fast, wickedly fast. In fact, she has the perfect blend of Quinn and Tucker: smart, cunning, humourous, focused, and independent. You might read that list and say: “Hey Stella, what the heck? How can she be humourous and serious (focused) at the same time?” Well, Confused Reader, I can tell you from experience, people are more than just a list of synonyms. Someone fun and bubbly can be also determined, focused and committed, while the serious person can be funny, laid back and lazy. People have different sides to them which D.J. really illustrated with his characters, whether it was the “ordinary” Tucker, the “quiet” Tori or the “snobby” secondary characters. 😉

– Additionally, it was really nice to see the parents aren’t forgotten in the story. Most of the time, the parents are no where to be found in YA. They are a hassle to write, and usually is an obstacle, halting the hero’s adventures. They are the rational voices that keeps the adventure from happening, but in SYLO, not only did they exist, they were well-written. I really felt I got to know they them. Again, keeping the word refreshingly true.

So far, SYLO has been the best book I’ve read in 2013, with Saga Vol.1. being my favourite graphic novel. This book gets five sparkly stars from me!